God’s Word, His Story, designed to help us know Him, leaves out some details and some details are under the surface. I really like answers. I’m not that crazy about questions.
Order, discipline, detailed plans, no surprises, that’s the way I like it. I want everything neatly tucked away in its proper place. I like my ducks in a row. I want the organization organized. The square peg in the round hole drives me crazy. Formulas make me happy. Geometry was a favorite class of mine. It gives you results that are perfectly predictable and that way every time. If everything (and everyone) would just behave the same way every time, like it is supposed to, I would be so much happier, or so I think. It just seems that I could function so much better if God would provide a formula to resolve every problem. But He hasn’t chosen to work that way. I am not positive about all the reasons, but it seems He wants us to listen for His voice, sit at His feet, carefully place our feet in His footprints, following Him one step at a time. His desire is not to hand us a set of blueprints and disappear, but rather to stay in close communication with us, the closer the better. He has a personality and I am not exactly sure why, but He wants to sit with us, walk with us, talk with us, fellowship with us. Surely the uncertainty helps to keep us close to Him.
God’s Word, His Story, designed to help us know Him, leaves out some details and some details are under the surface. I really like answers. I’m not that crazy about questions. I’m just made that way. I covet closure. I want to know how this thing will turn out, how this ride will end. God seems to present about as many questions as He does answers. All throughout the Bible, He sprinkles in questions, always thought-provoking questions, sometimes difficult questions. Sometimes He expects an answer from us. Sometimes there is no easy answer. Sometimes He simply wants us to wrestle with the question. About ten years ago, I read through a chronologically arranged Bible making a note each time that God asked a question. That was a good learning experience for me. I am about to begin that exercise all over again. I expect that I will learn a lot this time also. I plan to write devotions around the questions that God has asked in His Word.
I am thankful that God has made some things crystal clear. He exists. He is Creator of all things and all people. He is sovereign over all and judge over all. We must have no other gods before Him. We must not have divided loyalties with other people or gods. He loves all people and has made it possible for mankind to be reconciled to Him. There is no question about His plan to redeem sinners through Jesus. There is no other name by which we can be saved. We must love Him and people because He first loved us. We must be on mission in the world to be salt and light in a dark and hurting world. We must continue the unbroken chain of disciples making disciples who will make disciples, teaching them all that Christ taught. We must be expecting Christ to return and be ready for it because He is preparing a place for us and is returning for us at an undisclosed time. With all of that certainty, there is still some uncertainty. There is mystery and tension in the Bible. It is a living book, written and interpreted by a living being, the Holy Spirit. And it contains some direct questions for our careful consideration.
Pastor Steve Ellison is the director of the Ouachita Theological Training Institute in Mena, Ark.