In this first article on "A Plea for Europe", Michel von Allmen writes: "God's questions are always pertinent, relevant, powerful and let's admit it, disarming. The Bible is full of such questions and when God asks us something, you can be sure he is trying to get at us in his most clever and pedagogical ways."
Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counsellors there is victory.
In life in general, in the workplace and also in the Church, when looking for solutions, changes, improvements, success, the process usually starts by raising questions. The better and more accurate the questions, the more likely we are to get close to the proper answers. A good and intelligent leader is someone who raises a lot of questions to find out in what environment one is or evolves in order to move form A to B. Taking things for granted is always a great danger of losing what one has. (ex. Royalty in times of a popular revolution...) In times of war, the worst mistake is to ignore the existence or presence of the enemy; the 2nd worst mistake is probably to neglect asking the right questions about enemy strategy and overlook its potential.
Asking the right questions about the usual way of doing things, is often difficult and challenging; human nature resists change, and since raising the right questions will often lead to change, one tends to not like this thinking process which rocks the boat.
Add to that, the fact that as Christians we choose to hold fast to eternal truths and revelations from God and the Bible; this can make us into unshakable and immovable people, solid as rocks and proud to be so, and eventually unable to put ourselves or our ways of doing things into question (not our creed).
What often happens to businesses, even longstanding ones, with a high reputation for good products or service? Success can make us blind, lazy and even stupid, taking future success for granted based on past accomplishments.
This is deadly in life as a whole, in business and also in the Church. History is replete of people, groups, entrepreneurs and employees, who should not have taken past successes for granted. It's not a perk of given in life! Success is not the byproduct of chance, but the result of the proper convergence of ideas, revelations, inspirations, circumstances, connections (the best being with God) to which is added strenuous and ongoing thinking, applied discipline, hard work with a pinch of talent. There are not too many candidates for this kind of lifestyle!
Man has not invented the questioning process as such, but rather in human history God is the one who has relentlessly taken the initiative and raised the most pertinent, powerful and intriguing questions to man. (God to Adam “ Where are you”?
Gen.3:8-9 (after the fall) “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
Here we see God looking for His man/Adam, whom he had put in charge of running the garden, and see him questioning him, but man in the worst of situations, not only was not looking for/to God for help, but was not even asking the right questions about what was happening to him; he just hid himself and blamed another!
Another stunning example is Job in his highly difficult situation. Job was getting close to the end of his very intense trial, had had many questions in his heart and mind, but could not understand what he had done wrong to deserve so much suffering. Sounds familiar?
Then God Speaks to Job. From chapter 38 to 40, 3 full chapters of questions God raises follow which eventually ended the arguing and Job's perplexity.
Job 38:1-7 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, “Who is this that darkens counsel
By words without knowledge? “Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know.
Or who stretched the line on it? “On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
Job 40:1-40 Then the Lord said to Job, “Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
Let him who reproves God answer it.”
Verses 4-5 Then Job answered the Lord and said, “Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You?
I lay my hand on my mouth. “Once I have spoken, and I will not answer;
Even twice, and I will add nothing more.”
When Job capitulated before Almighty God, that was the beginning of his full restoration. But this process started with his own losses and interrogations and then lead to God asking him questions he could not answer.
In both instances, the questioning process, lived in the presence and fear of God, lead to victory. Of course there needs to be the fear of God in our questioning, otherwise it can just become a whole vicious circle and a cycle of closed questions/rebellious interrogations leading nowhere.
God's questions are always pertinent, relevant, powerful and let's admit it, disarming. The Bible is full of such questions and when God asks us something, you can be sure he is trying to get at us in his most clever and pedagogical ways.
His questions always corner us and lead us to capitulate and then to His victory; although the process is uncomfortable, we should not fear this questioning process, for it will lead us to acknowledge our limits and lead us to Him and to His answers which are always to be desired above all else. When we can see no further, then God can open news windows and horizons we could never see or imagine before.
Sometimes a great question is contained in a name, like Michael: Who is like God? And then the answer becomes obvious... End of argument, because the answer IS IN the question!
Let's remember that while a good idea is good, a great idea is so much better! But still, only “God-ideas” will ever be the best! To receive His best, we have to listen; and very often He will speak in questions...
As an apostolic company, we should learn how to raise the right questions in the right way for the right situations in order to let God lead us to discover the right answers in His right time and receive proper wisdom, which is always unbeatable.
Remember Stephen and his God-given wisdom:
Acts 6:9-10 But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen. But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.
Wisdom can be defined as the proper application of knowledge; and this is unbeatable too!
Remember David who raised 2 winning questions in 1 sentence about Goliath and that changed not only his life but also the history of his nation:
1Samuel 17:26 Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?”
©Michel von Allmen 2015