Sunday, August 11, 2019

Why God has more than three possible answers to our questions

Some people in churchianity like to say that “God has three possible answers to our questions: Yes, No, and Wait.”

Two thoughts: (1) This claim comes from a very limited view of God, and (2) it says more about us than about God.

There are two types of questions one can ask. Only one type has limited pre-defined answers.

The two types of questions are closed and open. Closed questions define possible responses. For example:

Closed question: Is it going to rain today?
Possible answers: yes, no

Open question: What's the weather today?
Possible answers: sunny, rainy, cloudy, snowy, dry, wet, etc.

In sales, a businessman will use open questions to get to know a client, and then closed questions to close the deal and make the sale. Open questions are about building a relationship. Closed questions are all about controlling a situation and reaching a desired outcome.

If the only kinds of questions we ask God are ones which can be answered yes, no or wait, then we are only asking Him closed questions. We're trying to define the outcome and control how He will respond. God is bigger than us, and His plans far exceed anything we can ask or imagine (1 Corinthians 2:9; Ephesians 3:20). We would do well to leave room for God to lead and work in His Fullness.

The good news is, it doesn't take much to change a closed question into an open question. For instance:

Closed question: God, will you provide me a spouse?
Open question: God, who should I marry? How should I prepare myself for marriage?

Notice the key words that make the statement into a question. The basic question words are all good for creating open-ended questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

Try building on your relationship with God by asking Him an open-ended question, and you'll quickly see how ridiculous it would be to assume God only has three possible answers to our questions.

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