The Transformative Power of Questions

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As we come to the end of Lent, we are coming to the end of the first stage of our series around “Listening for the Questions.” I say the “first stage” because we’re going to listen for questions from God all the way through the summer!

Seeing as how we are six weeks into this journey and seeing as how many of you have engaged daily questions from Jesus (see here) in addition to the questions addressed each Sunday, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on what we’re learning. In particular, what are we learning about the power of questions as opposed to simply searching for answers?

Here are a few responses. Please feel free to add your insights in the comments.

GOD HAS PROVOCATIVE QUESTIONS FOR US — It may seem obvious, but God has great questions for us. We are continually asking ourselves questions and asking God questions. And yet, here’s the reality: God has even better questions for us than we have for ourselves. God has questions like “What is truth?” “Who is it that you’re seeking?” “Do you want to be well?” If we truly take the time to listen to God’s questions, they can transform our lives (and do so in ways that are much more profound than human questions)

QUESTIONS HELP US MATURE — Any parent knows that our kids grow more and more mature when they grow the capacity to answer life’s questions for themselves. In the early stages of life, it’s important for us to provide direct insights for our kids. But as the children grow, we need to help them think critically on their own. It is insufficient for us to spood-feed answers. Instead, we have to ask provocative questions that get them thinking for themselves. Suffice it to say, Jesus is well-aware of how this works. That’s why he asks way more questions than he answered. He was asked over 180 questions and directly answered only 3. Yet, he asks over 300 questions. That’s because God knows that questions force us to grow up because they force us to wrestle with things on our own. It’s much better to draw our own conclusions rather than simply rely on spoon-fed, easy answers. We are not robots. We are people—people that need to grow and mature!

QUESTIONS HELP US PROCESS OUR LIFE EXPERIENCES — Questions spur reflection, which is absolutely necessary for growth. Mere experiences, in and of themselves, do not help us grow. Instead, growth is the result of experience + reflection. And reflection happens best with good questions. And God provides the best questions because God knows the best plans/intentions for our lives.

QUESTIONS HAVE GREATER CAPACITY TO LINGER THAN ANSWERS DO — During this series, many people have commented about this feature of questions. They have realized that provocative questions linger all day. By contrast, simple answers satisfy in the moment, but don’t linger in the same way. For instance, consider this question from Jesus: “Why do you notice the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but fail to notice the log in your own?” He could have simply said “don’t be judgmental,” but by adding this question, he gave us something that has the power to hold us accountable throughout every day. If that question is in our head and our heart, then we will continually focus on our junk and offer great grace to others.

QUESTIONS AVOID THE TRAP OF THE QUICK FIX — Let’s be honest, most of us tend to be problem solvers and “fixers,” but many different aspects of life do not have easy answers or quick fixes. Instead, we need need to dwell with hard questions and engage in deep reflection upon life and relationships. Good questions help us do that work, and God has the best questions for us.

Those are a just a few of the reasons questions are so powerful—powerful enough to transform our lives. What would you add to this list?

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