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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Rhetorical Response

Are you ever brazen with God? Do you ever question Him and demand a response?

Well lately, I've had a lot of questions for my sweet Savior. Although I seem to have fallen off the face of the blog world this past month, I've just been wrestling instead of writing.

One thing I love about God is that He doesn't scoff at my questions (or yours!)—but He often answers them differently than we might expect. You see, God already knows the minute aspects of our characters. He understands our motives long before we do. He dares us to discover the root problems which lie deep within our questioning hearts.

If God gave us immediate answers when we question Him, we wouldn't have to peel back the layers of our lives to learn what lurks beneath. That's why instead of giving us the answers we so desperately want, He often answers our questions with a question of His own.

Thankfully, we're not the only ones with whom God used this tactic! When Moses doubted God's call on His life and battled unbelief, he questioned God. But God often asked Moses a question before giving him an answer.

When Moses asked God what He should do if the Israelies failed to believe him, God asked him what he held in his hand (Exodus 4:1-2). God reminded Moses He would provide the needed tools for ministry.

When Moses argued that he wasn't eloquent, God asked him who gave man his mouth (Exodus 4:10-11). God reminded Moses it was not about what he could accomplish in his own strength but about what God would achieve through his obedience.

Like Moses, I desperately want to know the end before the beginning.

It's been months since I found out a publisher was interested in my submission for Grafted into Godliness (the first Bible study in the GEMS curriculum), and I often ask, "God, how long will this take?" He responds, "How long are you willing to wait?"

He mercifully shows me my impatience and unbelief. He reminds me that my times are in His hand (Psalm 31:15) and that if I truly believed His Word I wouldn't care if the publishing process took two years or ten.

Another question I often ask Him is how I'm supposed to juggle ordinary life with the awesome responsibility of ministry. After all, I'm called to live my priorites of being a wife, mother, and keeper of my home, and just because He's called me to ministry doesn't mean I can neglect my family, trash the toilet scrubber, and kiss the laundry goodbye.

He answers, "What branches in your life will you let me prune so you aren't just surviving but thriving?" (John 15:2-3). We often think Jesus only wants to cut off the dead branches in our lives. But He sometimes needs to cut off the fruitful ones as well so we can FOCUS. Only then will we truly flourish.

I struggle with the "YES" complex. I think I can have it all, do it all, and be it all. I battle busyness and wonder why I wind up shortshort of time, short of enery, short of faith. God hasn't called me to race through life; He's asked me to rest in His perfect plan. And most times that plan involves doing one or two things with excellence- not ten thousand things well.

What questions have you been asking God lately? Instead of an answer, look for the question He's asking you back. Dig deep to discover what part of your heart He desires to change, and you'll have the answer you really needed after all.


Katie Anderson said...

Great post Stephanie! And reminded me that God also questioned Job in his trials. Interesting.... I just called you, btw. And I got some message that your phone wasn't accepting calls? Call me when you can :)

Hester's Heart said...

Hey girl,

Love your insight into the life of Moses. As far as waiting goes, my youth pastor's wife used to always tell me, "Hester, anything worth having is worth waiting for" (she used it referring to a husband, but I believe the principle is applicable in other areas of our life as well.) Love you girl, Press on, Hester

Debbie G said...

It's interesting to note that the pruning of branches doesn't refer to a cutting off, but a lifting up to a position better suited to growth (learned that last year in a sermon). I am waiting. Questioning. Seeking direction. And loving life right where I'm at.

Stephanie Garneau said...

Yes, Katie, He certainly did question Job!

Thanks, Hester. I know you are right and love you too! We'll press on together!

Debbie, I know you are waiting and that God has big plans for your life. The pruning I'm referring to in this verse actually does refer to "cutting off" when you look at its original connotation in the Greek.

lisasmith said...

Hey Stephanie!!

I've been meaning to email since your article came out in P31... I loved it!! Your writing is beautiful! I'm praying for your ministry, your book and your heart today. I hope we can get our online group off the ground and I hope we can connect more. Will you be at She Speaks this year?


Stephanie Garneau said...

Thank you, Lisa! Your encouragement means so much to me!! Thank you for praying for me! I hope we can get our critique group off the ground as well. I'm not sure yet about She Speaks this year. Are you going? Blessings to you as well! :)

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