A questioning God


As many of us will know who were in church on Sunday and heard John’s gospel, the first words Jesus speaks in that gospel are to the two disciples who follow him after John the Baptist has pointed him out.  Jesus turns to them and says,

“What are you looking for?”

Sitting in the darkness of Launde chapel early on Sunday morning with only the Pascal Candle for light, I asked myself that question.

“What are you looking for, Alison?”

It is a question I have asked before, obviously, but it is worth doing so again every so often because it helps one to stand back and to look afresh at where one is and what one needs spiritually.  My response on this occasion was that I wanted peace.  I was dealing with some thorny problems personally and like many other people, I imagine, I am also cast down by the news of so much war and its devastating effect on millions of lives.

As soon as I gave the response, “Peace,” I felt, I cannot have personal peace as long as there is so little peace in the world.  But here I was wrong.  I found myself imagining Jesus asking me again,

“What are you looking for, Alison?”

Having shared what was uppermost in my thoughts and feelings I was able to go much deeper and name what I always want, and I realised after a time that I now had a deep sense of personal peace.  I had after all approached the God who gives peace beyond human understanding.  My personal problems were no longer thorny and the things I have no power over in the world were no longer over-powering me.  Don’t ask me why.  I had shifted so their power over me had shifted, too.

Throughout the bible we find that God asks questions.  These questions are invariably asked to help the hearers stand back and look at their situation and their relationship with God afresh.  They are sometimes repeated until the recipient is able to hear.  They are questions that bring healing, freedom, clarity and confidence.  They are question that enable us to journey on with God.

We are not promised an easy ride in this world but we are promised that we will not have to do it on our own and that there is always one with whom we can share our burden.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)