Monday, November 10, 2014

A Thought for Monday 10 November 2014

“[Israel] sinned even more against [The Lord] by rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness.  And they tested God in their heart by asking for the food of their fancy.  Yes, they spoke against God; they said, ‘Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?’  Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed.  Can He give bread also?  Can He provide meat for His people?”  Psalm 78:17-20 NKJV

If we never ask questions, we never learn anything.  Experiences in life will happen, of course, whether we ask questions or not.  It is a passive way of learning by just taking what comes, and we often learn harsh lessons from these experiences … and sometimes not!  Asking questions, however, means we are not sitting passively by and waiting for things to happen.  It is the inquisitive mind which wants to know something.  It is how we learn best.  What we learn, however, depends on what we are looking for and for what purpose.

Israel’s journey through the wilderness was to accomplish a couple of things.  They were going somewhere, of course, but the extra time needed in the wilderness was for one specific purpose: to learn more about the God who was leading them to the Promised Land.  Before they would be allowed to enter into the “land of milk and honey”, they would need to know about the God whom they would be called to serve.  This they learned through the Law.  Along the way, as they constantly tested this relationship and the power of this God, they learned some harsh lessons.  By the words of the text, however, it seems they did not learn very well.

There is nothing wrong with asking questions.  The journey we are on as Christians requires questions.  The manner in which we ask these questions, however, speaks volumes about what we think we want to know against what The Lord needs us to know.  These questions, as expressed by the psalmist, were asked in a manner by which the power and the mercy of The Lord were questioned.  These questions were not about whether The Lord would provide; the questions were more along the lines of whether The Lord could provide.  There is a big difference.

“You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”  James 4:3 NKJV

So it begins not with the questions themselves, but with the motivation for the questions as we must first question ourselves.  What is it we seek, and why do we seek it?  Are we trying to test The Lord, or are we earnestly seeking His will?  There defines the real nature of the relationship we claim to have with The Lord.  Even if we never ask, this also defines actually the relationship we do not have with The Lord. 

Before we question The Lord and His purposes, we need first to ask ourselves what we expect to gain from this relationship.  Are we seeking the good life for ourselves and our families, a spot in Heaven only for ourselves and those we love, or are we fully pursuing a relationship with The Lord in the here-and-now?  We should know the correct answer, but whether we are willing to ask the right questions for the right reasons indicates whether we should bother asking at all.

For the sake of the Holy Church, let us learn to ask the right questions for the right reasons so our Father may be glorified and our neighbors draw closer to learn more themselves.



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