From our current Love God series at Generations.
When I was growing up I had so many questions: I would ask why, what, how, where and when to everything. I drove people crazy and was often told to stop asking questions. I learnt early on that questions frustrated most people, but when my questions were answered it enlarged my understanding and knowledge and improved my execution of the things I learned. I decided to never stop asking questions. The older I get, the harder it gets to keep asking questions.
Whenever I met and spent time with a leader, preacher or pastor, I asked questions. When I read books and listened to podcasts and lectures, I asked questions.
Why do you do what you do, say what you say, and why is how you say what you say so important?
Can you see areas for improvement in my life or ministry? How can I grow in these areas? What could possibly hinder my growth in these areas?
What are you reading? What have you learnt that you can show me? How can I learn more? How can I become better at what I do?
My life was enlarged through people who took time answer these questions and impart into my life.
Many of us want to grow and increase which is a good thing. But what investment are we making?
In Luke 2:52 it says, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men”
Jesus is the example to all of us, He grew, enlarged and increased!
I had a young man in my youth ministry who learnt the art of asking questions early on. From day one of joining youth, at the age of 12, there was a ‘why?’ for everything. Some questions were annoying and some things I didn’t want to answer. Other things I didn’t have an answer to, which encouraged me all the more to ask questions.
He would ask:
Why did I do what I did? What would/did it achieve? Would I do it again? How can we improve it? Where can we make changes?
I’ve heard it said, ”People who ask the wrong questions get more answers than the ones who don’t ask any.”
He was one of those kids that was running and thinking at 100 miles an hour. He drove people crazy with questions, but was always hungry for more. He never wavered in asking questions and is still asking questions to this day. He told me at 16 that he wanted to run Youth Alive, our overarching State-wide youth ministry organisation. Ambitiously he asked lots of questions and he positioned himself to learn and find the answers to all his questions.
Now Dave Edgar, that curious 12 year old, runs a phenomenal youth ministry in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, is heading up Youth Alive Victoria and is continuing to have influence on this nation and beyond.
I believe the key to growing, increasing and expanding is found in the proceeding verse. In Luke 6:46 it says, “Then, after three days they found Him (Jesus) in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.”
Jesus learnt the art of asking questions, which lead to his growth in stature, wisdom and favour. Asking questions enlarges you.
“Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers” Robert Half.
Dave learnt the art of asking questions. Whether they were dumb, annoying or great questions, the answers challenged him and enlarged him.
Leader, I tell you the truth, the greatest thing you can do is sit around some great people, listen, and ask lots questions. Stay hungry, and pursue knowledge and execute wisdom.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing however, if you can learn in advance by asking questions, you win.
I’ve also heard it said, ”He who asks a question remains a fool for 5 minutes. He who does not ask questions remains a fool forever”
Don’t ever stop asking questions!
Have you ever questioned someone’s intentions? I have found myself there on occasions. Sometimes questioning the intent of others comes from a wrong and or skewed perspective. This can cause you to hesitate where you wouldn’t normally and question the motives behind others actions.
Recently I went to Melbourne for a couple of days and spent every moment catching up with friends, from haircut, to breakfasts, to dinners and birthday celebrations, enjoying quality time with great friends in many different seasons. I love watching their seasons unfold, and seeing the goodness of God over their lives.
The usual two and half hour drive home was filled with reflections of the goodness of God over their lives. However, in this process my thoughts slipped toward “God, where is your goodness over my life? I could clearly see it over everyone else’s life, but my own?” Have you ever been there? You can see everything working out for everyone else but you. I started to ask questions and compare my season of life with others, and became discouraged and disappointed, and as I looked at everything that was missing or incomplete in my life I was filled with overwhelming emotion.
As this process unfolded in my mind, I was immediately reminded of a scripture “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” Psalms 23:6. This is scripture I had memorised in my early childhood, and it was now pounding in my mind. “God’s goodness shall follow me”, not one, not some, but “all the days of my life.” This was a confronting moment; this scripture was at war with my current state of mind, my amplified emotions and my reality.
My first reaction to this initially was, “clearly there is no goodness following me!” I was doubting the truth, and had started to believe the lie that God was holding out on me. Unknowingly I started to question God’s intentions.
Arriving home after long conversations with God, thinking upon this scripture and the idea of God’s goodness, I went inside and looked up every passage of scripture I could find on the topic. See what I understood about God is that He is the essence of good, goodness is His character, His nature and His attribute. There is no evil in Him. God is good.
Scriptures reminded me that, “The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works” Ps 145:9. So God is good to all! My mind still battled this, and I thought what is all? Does all mean all? Me and everyone else? Or just those that appeared to have God’s goodness in their season of life? The result for me was being overwhelmed with these amplified emotions which matched the doubt, rather than the truth of what I know.
I looked further and God revealed more scriptures to me, and reminded me that the first attack Satan waged, was against the attribute of God’s goodness. Satan deceived Eve with the lie that God was holding back His goodness from her by not allowing her to eat from the tree in the middle of the garden. Satan managed to distort her perspective causing her to doubt God and His goodness. Not only did he manage to distort skew Eve’s perspective, he managed to destroy the intimacy that Eve had with God and his goodness as a result. It is the goodness of God that the enemy wants to distort in our lives. Satan succeeded so long ago with this approach and has not changed his tactics. Satan repeatedly tries to distort our view of God and His goodness, to have us question God’s intentions, and separate us further by causing doubt and disbelief to fill our minds.
Recently I caught up with a number of friends who have asked lots of questions about why God allows certain things to happen, for example: sickness, wars, bad things to good people. And it was in this moment I realised the importance of having a true perspective on God and His goodness.
God, knowing that separation came into the world through one man, chose also to removed it by one man, Jesus. (Romans 5:19-20). God is so good He gave His only son so we could have restored intimacy and relationship with God and His goodness.
Don’t allow Satan to distort your view of God. Don’t allow him to separate you any further. God wants you to see and experience His goodness (Exodus 33:19). God’s goodness is stored up for you in the person of Jesus Christ, and he wants to lavish it over your life. Psalm 31:19 says, “How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you…”
Be confident that any bad thing that has happened in your life is not the work of God or the lack of the work of God, the bible says in Psalm 84:11 “No good thing will He withhold…” And He also states in Psalm 34:10 “those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.” Know that what Satan intends for harm, God intends to bring good from it (Genesis 50:20).
As Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
You have His goodness in and over your life, for all the days of your life. Our God is by definition good, He has the state or quality of being good. This is our God.
Recently I was out with some friends, and the conversation made its way to dating, types, set ups, dating advice, and dating activity etc… (insert space for awkward silence… no, not really). Being a single 36-year-old female and a pastor I get lots of questions around dating and singleness, including questions like, “are you like a female priest?” To which I laugh out loud and say, “most definitely not!” But usually the question is, “why are you still single?” Some people can’t believe it, and others wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Others asked if I have ever been married, to which my answer is, “no.” Then others go on to ask, “are you putting yourself out there? Are you out meeting people? Are you online?” and many other questions. Plenty advocate internet dating, which I don’t personally feel comfortable with – maybe I am old school.
However, I have travelled parts of the world, interact with plenty of people and been on dates but not yet found the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. Some might say, “come on, seriously? You have been single for 18 years!” Others say surely its time to settle, or maybe what you’re looking for is just unavailable.
Let me say the path I have walked is not for everyone, but it is my journey and it is not for the faint hearted. I have seen two seasons of my single friends and family get married and have children and now the last of the third season of friends heading towards relationships and marriage now. This is not an unusual, uncomfortable or disappointing conversation. I am well accustomed to these conversations as I have navigated this season over 18 years and I feel like I have something valid to say. I have been exceptionally blessed over the season of singleness. I have many abundant friendships that have brought multiple blessings to my life, learnt how to build great friendships and I know what it means to be a friend. In the process I have learnt a lot about myself, and believe it has been in preparation for a great relationship and marriage to come. I believe that I am still single because of God’s timing and purpose. This belief is a liberating one and sets you free to live life to the full, learning to navigate and embrace every season.
Here are five points I think can help you navigate the journey of singleness however long or short your season might be.
The season of singleness is different for everyone. Just remember, it’s a journey, so learn to enjoy and find satisfaction in relationships with the people around you. Remember singleness is to be enjoyed, not endured.