Good Question

God arouses our spiritual curiosity.

I was driving in downtown San Francisco a few years ago to teach a seminar for the charge nurses for the VA hospital.  I was traveling west on Geary Avenue and had to stop a light at 32nd street.  I looked up and to my right I saw a beige building, on the third floor, two windows from the corner was an open window with a large fleshy and very old arm hanging limp over the dimpled and silver frame of a walker.  I couldn’t see the face or any thing else, save a light blue hue of the walls.

I was at that light no more than 45 seconds, but my mind wondered about that lady.  Why was she looking at the street that early in the morning?  Where was her husband?  Had age killed him?  Where were her kids?  Were they coming to visit her that morning and that was why she had her window open?  Did she send someone to the local store to fetch the morning paper and they ran off with her money?  Was she just enjoying the brisk sea breeze coming in off of the bay?  Maybe just under the sill of that window was an open Bible.  Maybe she was having a quiet moment with her Lord.  Maybe she was asking for a miracle.  Maybe she was praying for some loved one.  Maybe she was praying for the people on the street below.  Maybe she wasn’t looking down at all. 

She could have been smoking a cigarette and was letting the smoke escape.  She might have been drinking a beer and watching reruns of “I Love Lucy.”   She might have had dementia.  She could have been staring out of her window at nothing in particular.

The light turned green and I sped off to teach my seminar, later that day on the way to the airport I retraced my route down Geary Avenue and stopped at 32nd again, but the window was closed.  I was a bit glad that it was closed.  I was hoping she had more of a life than to look down on a street all day.  The car behind me honked and I took my eyes off of the beige building and looked eastward down Geary.  That is when I saw the golden sheen off of an onion shaped Byzantine dome of Greek Orthodox Church. 

1572461840_caf64335c5_m.jpgAnd then it dawned on me what she might have been looking at as the sun broke over the eastern horizon earlier that day.  She very well might have been looking at that Byzantine Dome.  She was facing in the right direction.  Her line of sight would have put her just above the little Vietnamese convenience store.  I decided that she was looking at the Greek Church.  And that she was perhaps saying her morning prayers.

At least she was looking in the right direction.

We live in such a curious age.  Folks are looking for answers to life’s deepest needs and often they are looking outside of this world.  Why are little 12 year old girls kidnapped in Sarasota, Florida and then brutalized and left dead in the underbrush of a church parking lot? Why do thousands die in Darfur every day?  Why is America such a dangerous place for violent crime?  Why does my sister have MS?  Why did my nephew have to die of Cistic Fibrosis?  And the war in Iraq continues.

There is no shortage of people ready to pontificate to us the right answers.  From the far right with their constrictive diatribes to the far left with enabling dribble.  But the more and more injustice ravages this world there will be a few among us who look outside themselves for answers.

Train’s lyrics seem to resonate with what many are asking these days:

Calling All Angels

I need a sign to let me know you’re here
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere
I need to know that things are gonna look up
‘Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup

When there is no place safe and no safe place to put my head
When you feel the world shake from the words that are said

I need a sign to let me know you’re here
‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me

And I’m calling all angels
I’m calling all you angels

When children have to play inside so they don’t disappear
And private eyes solve marriage lies cause we don’t talk for years
And futbol teams are kissing Queens
and losing sight of having dreams
In a world that what we want is only what we want until it’s ours

I’m calling all angels
I’m calling all you angels

They are looking to the wrong beings to fix the problems, but they are looking in the right direction.  They are looking up and out of this world and that is the right direction.
Do you ever wonder where the curiosity comes from?  

One time an old Jewish rabbi came to Jesus and asked, “How can a man be born when he is old?”  This question was in response to Jesus’ statement, “…unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 

The old guy scratched is curly beard and asked a good question.  Jesus answered his question.  Not to the old rabbi’s satisfaction mind you, but Jesus answered him. 

Do you have questions of God?  I do.  Don’t be afraid to ask the questions.  Even the hard ones.  I say that the questions prove the answers are out there.  Like thirst presupposes water and hunger presupposes food, I believe that questions presuppose answers.  I say that the mere act of asking positions us closer to the truth than we might guess.  The Truth is out there.  Maybe the more I honestly ask my questions, the closer I am to the kingdom.  Yes, in fact, I think I can see it from here.

At least I am looking in the right direction.

 Your thoughts?


2 thoughts on “Good Question

  1. It seems like God purposely created us with questions, many questions. For a time the answers provided by man… our parents, teachers, friends, etc., seemed to suffice. But not really. Even as children we asked questions of the seemingly distant God. As we came to know our Father more intimately we more readily sought Him with our questions, questions to which He, as we now know, holds all the answers. In later years, we continue to seek Him, but, oh, not nearly enough, not even close to how often He desires. God wants to be wanted, it’s what He created us for. In asking Him questions comes dialogue, in dialogue comes time spent together, and in time spent in toghether comes relationship.

    Father forgive us for asking so little, and often so late. You are the author of life, the creator of each one of us. You know us far better than we know ourselves. May we look to You, may we walk with You, aking You all our questions. We feel your pleasure in being aksed. Father we want to walk through life asking You constantly our questions. This is our created need and You are the Answer to our need. You are Wisdom. You are Knowlege. You are Life.

    Life as God intended is found not in the answer, but in the asking.

  2. I love what you wrote: “God wants to be wanted.” It reminds me of something Dallas Willard wrote, “Persons rarely become present where they are not heartily wanted.” I want God to be heartily wanted in my life. If asking questions makes that happen, then I will ask away.

    I love it when one of my sons calls me up and and says, “Dad, can I ask you a question?” That means they want my thoughts or opinion on something that is important to them. With out the questions there would be no FREE exchange of ideas. I wonder if questions begin and sustain relatinships and intimacy?

    I hope so.

    Thanks for the comment!

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