Spiritual Director · July 13, 2017

Devote #60

Have you ever noticed, as soon as you start praying, and you really know God is answering your request, that’s when you start asking the questions?

Are you sure God? When God? Why God? Where did You want me to go, God? How?

That was the overwhelming message I got this morning as I finished reading Malachi and started reading Luke. In Malachi, the prophet points out seven questions the people asked of God…

#1. “… yet you ask in what way have I loved you?” Malachi 1:2 CEV

#2. How did we insult you?” Malachi 1:6 CEV

#3. “How have we embarrassed You?” Malachi 1:7 CEV

#4. “How did we do that?” Malachi 2:17  CEV

#5. “How can we return?” Malachi 3:7 CEV

#6. “How are we robbing you?” Malachi 3:8 CEV

#7. “What have we said?” Malachi 3:13 CEV

Questions… questions… questions.

Then when I start reading the Gospel of Luke, I run into more questions.

The angel Gabriel came to an old priest by the name of Zechariah and told him his aging wife, who never had any children, was going to become pregnant, even in her old age. His question…
“How will I know this is going to happen? My wife and I are both very old.” Luke 1:18 CEV

Talk about a lack of faith!

But there’s one more question – it’s from a young virgin girl named Mary. That same angel, Gabriel, appeared to her as well and informed her she was going to give birth to the Son of the Most High God – Jesus. Her question…
“How can this happen? I’m not married.” Luke 1:34 CEV

At first the questions seem to run parallel – questions of doubt, but Mary’s is not a question of doubt, but of practicality. Mary wasn’t married as of yet, which prompts her to ask her question. She knows how babies are born. On the other hand, don’t you just want to scream at Zechariah and say, “You’re going to know it’s going to happen after you have sex with your wife and she starts having morning sickness!” (Sorry for the bluntness!)

Many times, we’re not much different. We pray, asking for a job, someone’s health, healing in a relationship. But then when God answers and ask us to walk it out in faith, we start in with the questions. We want all the details. It’s as if we’re not content seeing the one float in the parade that’s right in front of us because we want to see the whole parade.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: “We walk by faith, not by sight!” God’s not disturbed by our questions, but He is unhappy when we don’t like the answers! Next time He starts answering your prayers, don’t rattle Him with all your questions, just believe!

Forgive me for the times You have showed Yourself to be Almighty in my life, but I failed to fully trust You. Holy Spirit help me to walk in faith, knowing my God has everything under control, even when I don’t see it, feel it, or understand it. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.