Thursday, June 28, 2012

Questionable Thoughts

Now that the kids are grown, it’s the puppy in the household that is doing all the cute stuff and hogging all the camera time. I realized this anew as I sorted through the photos available to make a calendar for my husband for Father’s Day, a gift to fuel his obsession with his dog and help while away the hours at work each day until he can come home and spend some time in canine play. Finally I found my favorite; a shot of the pup trotting across the deck with his tail curling above him like a giant question mark he carries around with him everywhere he goes.

Surely that’s the way a puppy approaches life; curious about everything, constantly investigating every leaf, bug or blade of grass he comes across. A fur-covered bundle of energy, he bounces and tumbles and chews his way through the hours of the day till he collapses in an exhausted heap wherever it is that his batteries run out, closing his eyes and recharging his system so he can give it his all once more.

While most of us aren’t nearly as photogenic or energetic as my husband‘s dog, to our Father in Heaven it must look like we similarly travel through life with a giant question mark over our heads. In  thinking about the questions we ask God and our constant quest for answers, it occurs to me that when we don’t get the latter, perhaps the issue is with the former. All through school we were told there is no such thing as a stupid question, but it could very well be that we’re asking the wrong ones. And God sometimes uses our questions themselves to lead us to the answers we seek.

Perhaps the problem is with the sentence structure itself. Many of the questions we ask fit the following format: “God, when/how/why/what/where are You going to do ____ for me? We fill in the blank with all manner of requests. We want the doors of ministry to open up, the pews in our churches to fill up, or God to simply show up in our life situations, whatever they may be. And although our questions sound spiritual and God-centered, ministry related and Kingdom focused, perhaps there is an error in their structure that keeps us waiting. Meanwhile, maybe God is waiting for us to realize what that problem is and rephrase our requests so that He can respond appropriately.

I’m no whiz at grammar, but I know that when God is the subject of all our thoughts, actions and dreams, the very center of our days, all is well in our communication. We know from Jeremiah 29:11 that He has thoughts and plans for our lives, objectives that He wants to accomplish through us; thus He rules the verb, as well. The problem, then, must lie in the last word of the sentence, specifically the object of the preposition for.

Surely when we first began our lives of service all the results achieved were clearly for Him and for His Glory. But subtly and slowly over time, things sometimes begin to change. We understandably pour so much time and attention into our ministries that gradually they grow not just in size and scope, but in the space they occupy in our thoughts and devotion, as well, until they sometimes loom larger in our hearts than the God they are supposed to be about. We gradually take ownership of that which originally belonged to Him, and suddenly the last word in the sentence changes as well, from a God-centered You to that prideful and misconceived me.

While the situation was not intentional, neither is it without remedy once we realize that such a shift has occurred. Repeatedly we must release our hold on what we’re doing and focus anew on Him in whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). Our sentence structure will then reflect our belief that God is the Alpha and the Omega in our lives, the Beginning and the End, and every word and thought in-between. When we re-center our requests on God rather than on ourselves and our concerns, suddenly we realize we have the very Answer that we we‘ve been searching for, as well as God’s “Yes and Amen“ response to the queries we pose concerning His promises (2 Corinthians 1:20). 

I shook myself from my reverie and refocused on the task at hand, selecting photos, uploading them to the calendar website and then hitting the submit button to send my order on its way. Previous experience with this same company assured me that that my gift would indeed arrive in time for our Father’s Day celebration. Similarly, many of us have testimonies to prove that when we shake ourselves loose from wrong thinking and submit our refocused requests to the Father, His response will come not a moment too soon nor a minute too late, but exactly at the appointed time to accomplish what He has in mind.

When I eventually hold that finished calendar in my hands, may it remind me anew that every day of my life and all the minutes within it are securely held in His.

“My times are in Your hand…”
(Psalm 31:15 MKJV)


  1. Hi Elaine. What an adorable puppy. : )

  2. I am going to start using your posts for our family devotions, Elaine. You should think about collecting them into a book; just beautiful. Thanks for sharing your heart with your readers.

    1. Susan, you have just totally made my day!!! Thanks for the inspiration...and for taking the time to read them. :) :) :)


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