Our daughter, Lily, is at the questioning stage of her childhood development. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it causes the veins in my forehead to pulse....she can ask a lot of questions....but there's something beautiful about the questions she asks: they're honest, real, and come straight from what she's thinking about.
Yet here in the academy, and rightly so, we develop our questioning skills to be nuanced and multi-faceted. We learn to question theories, models, cultures, beliefs and texts however it leaves me wondering that as a result of this:
"Have we lost the ability to ask honest, raw, questions in our faith journey?"
What do I mean? When I reflect on my own life and the life of other Jesus followers around me, it seems that we vacillate between differing positions. Some of us believe that we should never question God, that to doubt is wrong, God is God therefore we can never question who he is or what he does. On the other hand, we have genuine questions about Jesus and our journey with him (or journey to him) but instead of taking them to him we just share them with our friends. Finally, I see some of us who think our questions are too mean, to shallow, to sore to ask.
And this is the situation we come to in Jonah 4. Jonah does two things in this chapter: he questions the attributes of God (in fact he says he doesn't like the fact that God is merciful) and he also questions the actions of God (he doesn't like what God does).
Yet in both cases, even though the questions and comments from Jonah appear mean, petulant and below the greatness of God...God still responds. In fact he responds with a question, inviting Jonah in to dialogue (something we see through the Old Testament).
So, can it also be true for us? Can it be that God is inviting us to dialogue with him? That God wants us to ask the honest, hard, questions about our life? Questions such as: "Why are they more popular than me?" "Why did this happen to my (fill in the blank)?" "Why is this still happening to me?"
And why does God want to invite us in to this dialogue with him? I think it's because God wants to redeem us. The question is the starting point in a glorious and beautiful journey where God heals and restores us from the pain, hurt, issue that drove us to ask the question in the first place.