Good Questions

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?” Job 38:31-33

God’s questions to the broken man, Job, are deep and daunting.

There is a unique mixture of compassion and correction in their tone as God seeks to update Job’s understanding of who He is by taking him to the end of his knowledge.

But I am grateful for that.

As my three sons near and step into manhood, I have had more and more opportunities to talk with them about those steps and what they mean.

More often than not, these conversations begin with great questions, too. But as time has gone by, the questions have changed and ended, recently, with a Job-like surprise. Here’s what I mean…

When the boys were just little guys, their questions were direct and easy.

Questions like these:

  • “Can we go to the zoo?”
  • “What are banks for? How much money do we have?”
  • “What’s it like to drive a car? When can I drive?”

Now, however, as the moments near when they and I realize together that the joy and challenge of being independent men is upon them, their questions have changed. The questions are less direct and less simple.

Questions like these:

  • “How do I know when God is leading me?”
  • “What is my next step?”
  • “Why does the world seem out of control?”

As these conversations flow and time, with an unrelenting pace, pulls my sons forward into the center spotlight where their adult lives await, in a rush of both memory and longing, I watch them step eagerly into a new day.

They are leaving my direct care, and as they go, my own questions begin.

Questions like these:

  • “Have I taught them enough?”
  • “Will they see opportunities as they are developing?”
  • “Does God see them, too?”

And this is where an unexpected curtain lifted for me.

It was in the understanding that my best efforts to lead, guide and protect these boys was suitable only for a time.

It meant knowing that their next steps were, of necessity, not with me, but with God, and if I were going to be settled with that, He would need to be a very big God . . . big enough to handle their lives with power.

It was in the middle of this need where my personal awareness of God grew larger. God began to update my understanding of Him:

If He will be able to create and manage my sons’ circumstances, talk fluently to their souls and open His Kingdom to them, then He will need to be a very big God with all the power and wisdom, capacity and desire to love and lead these men well.

He will need to be these things to make their lives . . . happen.

And here was the surprise: instead of questions coming to me from my sons, questions started coming to me from my Heavenly Father.

Questions like these:

  • “If I can lead and provide, care and love these three men the way you hope, can I do this for you, too?”
  • “Will you let me be this Person in your life?”
  • “Would it be helpful to your sons and to your wife if you do this?”
  • “What would that look like?”

I think God wants me to know in these days of “letting go” that He is far greater and more loving than I would have ever known had I not needed to know it so as to entrust my sons to it.

In my hope that God will be God in their lives, I realize His invitation is open to me, too.

My conversations with my sons became the cultivating ground of my own faith as I sought answers to good questions.

Questions like these:

  • “When I describe God as fully trustworthy, am I trusting Him?”
  • “When I remind my sons of God’s unlimited grace, am I living as though I am forgiven?”
  • “When I remind my sons to be steadfast in challenges, am I brave?”
  • “When the life journey of my sons doesn’t look like the one I’d choose, will I trust that God’s got this?”

I want to know the God who needs to be big enough to carry the lives of my family when its time for me to let go. I want to know Him as they’ll need to know Him, living well, full and free in His great care.

Like the good Father He was to Job, God has had a few, good questions for me, these days.

My sons aren’t the only ones He’s growing up.

In letting go of my my three man-sons, God’s showing me the bigger picture of who He is. 

He wants to show you, too.

“I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” Luke 15:18-20

SMOOTHSTONE: God shows us His character to give us a rationale for trust.