Do you know what the first question in the Bible is?
“Where are you?”
The very first question ever was asked by God Himself! He was searching for man, who because of his sin was hiding in shame and embarrassment.
Of course God knew exactly where Adam and Eve were hiding and why. So, for what reason did God ask and not just sneak up on them and yell, “Boo!”?
Oh, I suppose there are many reasons why in His infinite wisdom God asked a question to which He already knew the answer. Two possible reasons are: 1. In answering the question, man would have to admit his guilt which would be the first step towards reconciliation, and, 2. If it is ok for the omnipotent God to ask questions, then surely it must be ok for us to ask questions, too.
The story of the whole Old Testament is one of God seeking man, drawing him into a relationship with Him. Finally, in the fullness of time, God the Father sends His Son. Now, full reconciliation can take place and a personal relationship between God Almighty and man can be recovered: the story of the New Testament.
Do you know the first question asked in the New Testament? “Where is he…?” It was asked by three wise men seeking the newborn King of the Jews. Now it is man’s turn to seek God.
“Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find” (Matt. 7:7). God wants us to seek Him; He wants us to ask questions.
Two Gospels down, in St. Luke, there are a couple of questions asked which may seem similar, but are markedly different. In the annunciation of St. John the Baptist’s birth, Zechariah asks, “How am I to know this?” Six months later, in a similar announcement, Mary asks, “How can this be…?” Mind you, both questions get answered, though one answer (Zechariah’s) brings with it an opportunity to reflect more carefully on God’s goodness (aka, a bit of a punishment).
So what’s the difference? The heart of the question.
When we ask God anything, we, as faith-filled people, must do so with the utmost trust in His goodness. That does not mean we can’t be angry or that we will totally understand. In the end, though, we ask with a heart open to God’s will whatever it may be, knowing that He only desires what is best for us and that He can and will bring good even out of evil.
So ask away. Ask in your hurt, your confusion, your wonder, your awe, your anger. Ask. He wants you to. He wants you to seek Him as three wise men once did. He wants you to trust His answer, like a young virgin once did.
He wants to know, “Where are you?” Where are you in this faith journey with Him? How close? The answers He has for us can bring about a reconciliation that will lead us even closer to Him.
Questioning God is not bad; on the contrary, when asked with an open heart, questions are good.
So you see, Dad, it is ok to ask God why you have cancer. It is understandable, even for a faithful man as yourself, to wonder if everything is going to be fine. In the end, though, trust Him. He will bring good out of this trial.
Please, my friends, pray for my father as he undergoes radiation treatments. Thank you and God bless you for asking.
Copyright 2015 Kelly Guest; originally posted January 12, 2015.
See our other From the Archives featured articles!
About the Author
God has given Kelly lots of wonderful opportunities to follow Him. She was a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville, an education coordinator for a Catholic Charities' program for pregnant teens, a middle school teacher, a director of religious education and is now a youth minister. Her most challenging and rewarding calling, though, is wife and mother of ten children. What she has learned, she blogs at CatholicMom.com. Kelly's book, Saintly Moms: 25 Stories of Holiness, is due out October 2021.