DayBreaks for 02/21/12 – Nonsense Questions
From the DayBreaks archive, dated 2/22/2002:
When we lose a loved one, when things all around us begin to collapse and crumble and we can no longer see the horizon of the pit into which we’ve fallen, we are prone to ask God questions. We aren’t alone. Check out Job – he had PLENTY of questions for God – and got not a single answer for all his questioning. While God did finally speak to Job, He didn’t answer the questions. Were Job’s questions an affront to God? I don’t think so. God’s first actions are to undertake a firm and strong defense of “my servant, Job”. I think it is more likely that Job, like we, asked God so many questions that were unanswerable. Does it seem impossible that we could pose a question to God that He couldn’t answer? Consider:
“Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask – half our great theological and metaphysical problems – are like that.”
“And now that I come to think of it, there’s no practical problem before me at all. I know the two great commandments, and I’d better get on with them. Indeed, H’s (Lewis’ wife) death has ended the practical problem. While she was alive I could, in practice, have put her before God; that is, could have done what she wanted instead of what He wanted; if there’d been a conflict. What’s left is not a problem about anything I could do. It’s all about weights of feelings and motives and that sort of thing. It’s a problem I’m setting myself. I don’t believe God set it me at all.” – C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
I think Lewis is right. If our questions make sense to us, that may be a good sign that they probably are unsensible to God. We simply don’t know enough to be able to frame our questions. We don’t know enough of the details of any situation, the options, the impact of the things we ask about. But God understands why we ask – and He even asks us to ask, even if we don’t understand that our questions are unanswerable as asked.
In the last paragraph, I think Lewis has captured the real meaning and danger of loving someone more than God. The risk is that we are more prone to do what they want us to do than what God wants us to do. And that is the nature of temptation, isn’t it?
PRAYER: Lord, I wonder how many times I have put others, and myself, ahead of You? It is hard, Lord, to put someone first whom we have never seen. Keep us from the worship of things and people in this world that might distract us from our true calling. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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