envelop spinner search close plus arrow-right arrow-left facebook twitter

The Power of Questions

by Abi Foerster on February 20, 2024

There’s a certain kind of joy and depth that comes from being asked a good question, or many good questions. But before we begin...

Take a moment to Listen and Center Yourself.  The song Abba (Official Lyric Video) is by Jonathan and Melissa Helser from the album, Beautiful Surrender (youtube.com).

This past week in worship, we began exploring the first of many questions God asks us in Scripture, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9) We know that questions have the power to transform us much more than answers, and so as we begin the season of Lent, I’m excited for us to consider the challenging questions God asks. As we wrestle with these questions in our own life, may we find ourselves in a whole new world of conversational relationship and discipleship with God and one another.

As we ponder the question “Where are you,” it opens up other questions for consideration: Where are you in your heart, in your mind, in your journey with Christ? How does all of this feel? What are you hoping for? What are you afraid of?  We soon realize that questions, and the exchange of feelings and the deeper understandings they invite, open the door to a growing intimacy with God and all our relationships.  Questions bridge the chasm between knowing about and knowing itself.

Read from The Message:  Genesis 3:1-13 | Luke 15:11 – 24

It’s striking that the Creator of the universe chooses not to relate to the world at a distance, but takes on human form, goes for a walk among the creatures, and personally engages them regarding recent events. The writer of Genesis presents a deeply profound understanding of how God chooses to enter the world and relate to God’s creation. Even more, this God comes to the man and the woman after their sin; God does not leave them, ignore them, or walk elsewhere in the garden.

As the man and woman were ashamed in each other’s presence (3:7), they now realize their guilt and shame in the presence of God. The sound of God walking in the garden in the dusk’s coolness implies the intimacy that God and humanity enjoyed in Eden prior to this transgression. And this is a tragedy because the loss of that intimacy is apparent to the humans. They were ashamed to be in God’s presence, and so they hid themselves “among the trees of the garden.”

God’s question to Adam and Eve is not meant to elicit information about their whereabouts, as though God is confused by their absence. Rather, God is encouraging introspection from them; why exactly are they there, beyond the trees, hiding from the Lord who has provided all their needs and blessed them abundantly?  We wonder how Adam and Eve felt when they heard God calling them. Were they afraid, wondering if God was going to pounce on them and punish them? Did they sense that they had broken God’s heart. Or did they feel something like most children do when their parents come looking for them during a game of hide and seek?  Did God’s question cause them to realize how much God longed for their company?

God searches for us and comes to find us in our hiding. God’s “walking” in the garden suggests a habitual action – a sign that this was something God often did for relational intimacy with humanity.  What’s surprising is that sin and shame don’t drive God away. Instead, God asks a question — showing that God wants to retain the relationship. Can we be fully known, fully seen, and not be rejected by God? Yes!  Of course! God fully knows who we are and still draws near in conversation and connection.

Suggested Process for Answering God’s Question

Where are you, now, in your relationship with God? God longs to be in one-on-one conversation with us. And so, God takes the initiative in coming toward us and asking this question. Think about this for a moment. We are not starting the conversation with God from scratch. God has already begun it. We just need to join the conversation that is already going on. One way for us to do this is to respond to this question. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Begin by telling God what is going on in your life at the moment. Identify and name the feelings that are present in you. Express them aloud to God and let them go in your prayer.  Share with God your longings, joys, sorrow, shame, and fears. Build this honest sharing into your regular dialogue with God. Begin to experience the closeness that this kind of transparency brings to your relationship with God.
  2. Consider using the Psalms to lead you into this conversation. Choose your favorite psalm. If you don’t have a favorite, start with Psalm 23 or 103. Allow the words of the psalmist to become part of your own prayer practice. Then, once you’ve internalized the message – see if you can put it into your own words by writing a poem or journal entry. You may discover the psalm directing your attention to God in praise and thanksgiving; it may connect you more intimately with some aspect of your own life experience; it will certainly provide vocabulary with which to pray. Following this, share with God whatever is on your heart and mind.
  3. You may also want to respond to the challenge of this question by making God’s love real for others. The God we meet in the Bible looks for every human being, no matter who he or she is or what he or she has done. Each person has a special place in God’s heart. God longs for every human being to know that place—especially those who suffer and are in pain. Obviously, you cannot reach out to everyone who is suffering. But in your conversation with God, you can ask, “Lord, who falls within my care? To whom can I bring your love.”  Then listen and do.

Reflection Prompts

  1. As you look back on your life, who are some people who have asked you good questions? (Perhaps it was a teacher in college, a parent, a friend, a mentor, or a spouse). How did it feel to be asked good questions? Can you recall a particular question that had a lasting impact on you?
  2. Do you agree that questions have the power to transform us more than answers? Why do you think God asks so many questions throughout the story of scripture?
  3. What are some of the most common ways that we try to hide ourselves from God and from those around us?
  4. In your experience, what is the value of putting your experiences into words and actually speaking these to God and someone who is safe? What benefits come with that kind of honesty and transparency?
  5. When did you first become aware of God’s love for you? What events or people in your life have reminded you of this love? How did they do this?


Abba God, during these forty days, help us to wrestle with the questions you ask and guide us toward an even deeper, holy friendship with You. God of the lost, the hurting, and all who long for home, when we wander from your ways and squander the blessings you have given us, welcome us back, we pray, so that we may celebrate and rejoice in your presence forever, through Jesus Christ, your beloved Son.   Amen.