Q & A

Last night I had a dream, maybe not a full on God-dream but one that I woke from energised. It centred around how we tend to approach life with the answers, how we are sure because of our faith, and then we try and make life fit our answers. My little task in the dream was to come to a group who were so sure about everything and tell them that their answers were irrelevant as they did not have the right questions (indeed they did not seem to have any questions; they had left that part of life behind them). As I looked around the whole group I could see they were very content, but evidently in a bubble, they had little contact (and probably little relevance) to what lay beyond themselves.

Pre-fall I guess the path was one of discovery, experimentation and surprise – sounds a great way to live? The instruction was to ‘eat of all the trees’. Try this fruit, what about that one… What a great way to learn and given that redemption brings about a restoration this should become an element in our lives. The freedom of discovery.

Post-fall it seems that questions are key. Before God says anything by way of revelation there are questions that come that penetrate right to the heart:

  • “Where are you?”
  • “Who told you that you were naked?”
  • “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
  • “What is this that you have done?”

Questions continue throughout Scripture. Particularly before revelation comes:

  • ‘What is in your hand?’
  • ‘What do you see?’
  • ‘Who do you say I am?’

If we are not comfortable with questions there will be very little revelation. We have to be comfortable with not knowing… and if we are not comfortable with that we will always have a tendency to resort to eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (hint: not a good idea and one that does not have a good ending! When I first wrote this last sentence I mis-spelt good as ‘goof’, not a bad spelling?).

Putting the two elements of pre-fall and post-fall together we need to consider that discovery (with experimentation and surprise) and questions need to be the tracks either side of the path that we walk down. God is the all-knowing one, we…? Well we are maybe not the all-ignorant ones, but far from being the all-knowing ones!

Questions without answers are not comfortable… but we have to be come comfortable with that feeling. We have to hold this, and learn to live with a big old ‘I don’t know’ as part of of who we are.

Just a part

I have been involved in a number of settings where I have been invited to bring a prophetic word to a situation in these past months, and given that it is into the current re- situation (re-jig; re-invent; re-new; or re-surrection… i.e. death and loss – only God provides the re- part after this) it can be very challenging indeed. God speaks to encourage and provoke us to embrace the path of life… for sure. But the current climate makes it more difficult to truly see. As I have mentioned before (COVID simply as a sign of things to come) might indicate that we have entered a storm. If so then simply bunker down it will be over soon. If ‘winter’ is a better analogy, then make sure we have enough supplies in place, maybe a candle or two should there be a power cut, etc. But if this, along with what is to come, is an ice age, there will be a before and an after, but something permanent will change and it might not be too clear what the change looks like for a while to come. [I suspect it is somewhere between a winter and an ice age.]

We prophesy in part.

I have understood (and still do) that short phrase to mean we don’t have the whole picture, and it certainly means that. It might even mean (and does practically!!) ‘be a little humble, part of what you prophesy will be from heaven and some from your little preconceived ideas’. But…

Today I am also seeing that it means that if we are truly wrestling with the big question, ‘what does this mean?’ there will be more in our spirits than we can prophesy. More there that we cannot yet articulate. That I find provocative and encouraging. Provocative… don’t stop now… don’t add the full stop…

We can be so quick to move from question #1 to question #2 (‘what are we to do?’) with the assumption we have understood ‘what does this mean?’. (The two questions come from the Day of Pentecost and also from the description of the ‘men of Issachar.) We might have to make a preliminary response related to action (what we need to do), but if there is more sight on the meaning that we are wrestling with the what we are to do can only be a temporary response.

Certainly provocative, and also encouraging. There is more. It is probably OK to make a temporary response. But it will not prove fruitful to conclude it is enough.