Summary: Questions are a critical part of life and the learning process. Here are three questions from God that help us learn about ourselves.
Why is it that if someone tells you there are 1 billion stars in the universe you will believe them, but if they tell you the paint on the wall is not dry, you touch it to be sure?
I’m going to ask you a question… You know, questions are a critical part of life and the learning process. You can often engage even a quiet person in conversation if you start off by asking, "May I ask you a question?" The theory of mismatching says that the majority of people will answer that most of the time by saying, "Sure." Next time you call someone or walk into someone’s office, you can try that theory out by asking him or her, "Did I catch you at a good time?"
They will respond with, "Well, not really, but go ahead." However, if you ask them, "Did I catch you at a bad time?" normally they will say, "No, go ahead. It’s not a bad time."
There are a few people however who don’t respond automatically, and if you ask, "Can I ask you a question?" they will say, "NO!" Which is why when I began a few moments ago, I didn’t ask. I just said, "I’m going to ask you a question!" I don’t care if you don’t want me to; I’m going to ask you anyway!! ;-)
Questions are used to learn. We tend to forget most of the conversations we have and things we listen to, but we remember questions that were asked for sometimes years, especially questions that penetrate deep into our thoughts and processes. Questions cause us to respond, to think; even in 1-way conversations, when you hear a question your mind responds. Questions teach us to think and enable us to connect and converse.
Ellen was telling us recently about a conversation she witnessed where 2 elderly men were talking with each other. Each of them was sitting there talking out loud; one was talking about different happenings in town, while the other was talking about something totally different. Every once in a while, they would seem to agree with each other, and then would continue talking. They were talking with each other, but not to each other. One critical question would have changed that conversation and allowed them to connect with each other. And that question is, "Can you hear me now?"
So, I’m going to ask you a question. And while you wait breathlessly for that question, I want to first talk about some questions from God.
In the third chapter of Genesis, verse 8, we find the 1st recorded question from God. I’m sure you remember the story. Adam & Eve were given the entire garden to live in and eat from, except for 1 tree. After they ate from this tree, we find them hiding in the trees of the garden, hiding from their creator. And God came down, as he did every day in the cool of day to talk with his creation. Adam and Eve heard the sound of the Lord and hid themselves.
Hiding is something we learn at an early age. I remember hiding in my Mom’s closet eating something I didn’t want everyone else to know about when I was fairly young. When I was found out, boy did I catch it! My favorite game was hide-and-go seek - at night! There was something sinister about hiding in the dark, and sometimes I wouldn’t come out - I didn’t want to be found. Sometimes we hide as children to not be caught doing something wrong. Maybe you hid, as I did, to escape from pain and emotional turmoil. We have adults today who have trouble being open and transparent, because they’ve hidden things their whole life.
If you habitually hide things in your relationships with people who love you and who trust you, and from Godly people who you are connected with for accountability, you will destroy those relationships. You cannot have a healthy connection with another being if you’re a "hider." Paul said over in First Corinthians chapter 13, that a mark of real love and maturity was putting away childish things. When you remove those things you hide behind, you have room to grow. If you don’t, you become stunted and cannot grow at all, and everyone around you knows it, even if you don’t.
This story in Genesis bears out another idea: God desires a daily relationship with you. God came down to the garden in the cool of the day. You know how things are in the cool of the day; it’s quiet, the winds have died down, the heat is gone, or the heat has not yet started. God would come down and converse with Adam and Eve.
God wants to converse with you and I also. Ps. 139 says, "How precious are your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them." We tend to avoid God and hide - but He wants to talk. We neglect reading the Bible - but he wants to talk. We put off spending time in prayer and meditation - but he wants to talk. We’ve had a bad day, we did something we’re not proud of, we’re sick, tired, or angry - but he wants to talk. We hide behind the trees of our busyness, sorrow, heartbreak, and sin and think to ourselves, "Surely God won’t want to talk with me today. What if He finds out what I’ve done? What if He asks me about that again?" He already knows! That’s really why we hide - fear of the question! We avoid people we’ve wronged because we’re afraid of what they might ask us if they find us!