Question: “Do you know what time it is?” Answer: “Yes. Now, do you want me to answer the question you asked, or the question you intended to ask?” A little boy goes up to his mother and asks her “What is sex?”
After a moment of panic, she asks him why he wants to know. He replies, “This form says sex, M or F.” Often in life we do not get the right answer because we do not ask the right question or clarify the question. That might not be a big deal when you are asking for change or the time, but when you are asking the important questions of life, it is. To get the right answer you must ask the right question.
When something that is perceived as bad happens to a person, the first question is “Why?” “Why did this happen to me?” If the person is religious, then the question might be “Why did God do this to me or why did God allow this to happen to me?” The variation is the what question: “What did I do to deserve this?” The effect of these questions is to turn us into victims. Either God or the universe is out to get us. Life is unfair and we are its unlucky victim. Why questions can lead to a pity party, and in extreme cases to severe depression. Asking why will never get us the right answer because the ultimate focus and object of the question is the “me.” And the answer is, “Because, life (or another word) happens.”
The questions that people of faith are called to ask are “How” and “Where.” “How is God going to bring healing and new life?” How is God going to bring growth and blessing out of a bad situation?” “Where will God reveal victory over loss?” We are a people of the resurrection. People who believe that rainbows are a promise of blessings after a storm. By asking the questions of how and where, we not only testify that we are a people of faith, but we also condition ourselves to see the answers. If we believe that God is present, then our questions predispose us to look for God’s presence.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) May we always have the wisdom to ask the right questions, for then we shall find that which we are seeking, and the doors of God’s blessings will be open to us.
Fr. Jamie is the pastor of Holy Angels National Catholic Church, an independent catholic community whose motto is “Love without judgement.” People with questions are always welcome.
Holy Angels National Catholic Church
Fr. Jamie Forsythe