I work really hard at trying to be understanding of my children’s stages of development. They’re kids, right? There is so much that their little brains can’t hold or grasp. But one thing that I have just about zero percent patience for is when I have to answer a question more than once. My son, Brady, asks a LOT of questions. I love how he thinks. However, very frequently, he will ask me a question, and after I answer, he asks the same question again. Word for word, as if I did not take time to think through my answer and speak it out loud. Sometimes he straight up didn’t listen to me. And other times, he didn’t like my answer. So he pretends not to hear me, decides to try it again and hope for a new response.
Anyone else? It makes me feel completely insane. Like, why am I using my brainpower to come up with an answer for you if you’re going to ignore me?? Rude. The logical part of my brain tells me, “He’s seven. His focus is definitely comparable to a goldfish. Be patient.” The tired, mom part of my brain says, “I refuse to answer your question again if you’re not going to listen to the answer.” More often than not, that is the answer that comes out of my mouth. Insert anyone in your life that has made you feel this way before. Maybe your kids, or your mom, or your husband.
I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful that God is not an impatient parent like me. I ask Him so many questions, and He answers me in ways I don’t always understand, and sometimes, I don’t even pay attention. I have found that I’m in good company, though. Jesus demonstrated ridiculous patience with his disciples over and over and over. Do me a favor and go read John 14:5-13.
Okay, I’m gonna paraphrase it for you the way that I wrote it down in my journal. This is how I saw the conversation going in my head.
[Verse 5] Thomas: “But how can we know the way to go?“
[Verse 6] Jesus: “I am the way. From now on, you do know the Father and have seen Him.”
[Verse 8] Philip chimes in: “Show us the Father.”
Pause. If you didn’t see how hilarious Philip’s response is, read Jesus’ words one more time.
If I were Jesus (LOL), this would be my response: “…You’re kidding, right? Were you listening to Me at all? I literally JUST SAID you know the Father and have seen Him. Pay attention, guys!”
But Jesus’ response is kind and gentle. He is clear, though. He asks these two questions: “Don’t you know me?” (v.9) and “Don’t you believe?” (v.10)
These are not sarcastic or judgmental questions that He poses to His followers. I believe it’s more of a loving, kind of sad question. It is as if He’s saying, “After all this time, and all we’ve been through together, don’t you know Me? Don’t you know that when I speak something, I mean it?” It isn’t that He simply just wants them to pay attention to His answers. He is longing to be known because of His goodness.
I’ve read this passage before but I’ve never put it together how often I am the one asking God questions without listening to His answers.
God, how am I supposed to make it through this time?
God, are You sure that you’ve called me to do that?
God, You told me that You would answer me, but are You sure You’re going to follow through?
Let me be clear: God loves and is aware of what Alicia Britt Chole calls “persistent supplication.” It is God’s desire that we would earnestly seek after Him, and honestly ask Him for the desires of our heart. He does not get frustrated with us when we seek Him over and over, even if we are a little repetitive. But in our questions, are we relying on His character and His words, or are we relying on what we see? Are we asking the question again because we aren’t sure if we heard Him, or because we are looking for another answer?
The depth of His character is far too magnificent for us to ever grasp. But the consistency of His character? This is not too much for us to understand. It is not a far stretch for God to hope that we would trust in His faithfulness.
The amount of unanswered questions we have just about always outweigh the clear answers that God has given. There’s a reason for this, you know. God is mysterious and far too much for us to ever comprehend. If we’ve completely figured Him out, that doesn’t make Him Someone worth trusting our entire eternity to, does it?
But for as many unanswered and mysterious situations you have in your life, I would be willing to bed there is at least one situation that God has made clear for you. Think back on the questions you’ve asked God that He has answered. Maybe a friend or leader affirmed it for you. Maybe you felt a deep peace and settling in your spirit. Maybe a Bible verse popped up that was so specific, you knew it had to be an answer from Him. Maybe the Holy Spirit spoke something deep within you that you absolutely knew couldn’t have been your own thought.
How often have we asked for more proof when God has already given us an answer?
This is not a challenge to stop asking questions. It is a challenge to actually listen to the answers. In this one passage that I asked you to read above, God has already answered us with this promise: “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and you have seen Him.”
I know your circumstances may not line up with what He has promised. I know you’re still waiting on the miracle. I know it looks like that dream may have been snatched from you. But what has God already promised you about that situation? Without knowing your personal circumstance, I can tell you what I know that He has promised:
He has promised to be faithful to you. It’s who He is. He literally can’t help it. [1 Timothy 2:13]
He has promised to strengthen you and hold you up. [Isaiah 41:10]
He promises to be present with you, no matter how far you run or try to hide. [Psalm 139:7-12]
He hears you. Every prayer, every question, every cry of your heart. [1 John 5:14]
He loves you. Deeper than those three words could ever convey. [Romans 8:38-39]
The promises God has made to you are practically endless.
Here’s the really, really hard truth. At some point, we have to believe Him and quit asking. Christine Caine put it this way: “At some point, we move from ‘Jesus, do You see me?‘ to a very settled identity that says, ‘Jesus, I know You see me, and now I will follow You to see others.'”
Take this day to think back on all the countless ways Jesus has answered you in the past and be encouraged.
He is for you.
“I will answer your cry for help every time you pray,
and you will feel My presence in your time of trouble. I will deliver you and bring you honor.
I will satisfy you with a full life and with all that I do for you.”Psalm 91:15-16 TPT