Ask a Stupid Question

July 2, 2012 — 5 Comments

Irritated help desk worker

Have you ever heard someone say, “there’s no such thing as a stupid question?” They’ve never met me, have they? I am the king of stupid questions. I mostly do it on purpose, but sometimes a real doozy slips through, mostly because I’m not listening.

When I was in college, there was a store at the mall, a wonderful, glorious store called Everything’s $1. I would go and grab an ice cube tray and take it to the front (sometimes I would even stand in line) and then ask them to scan it since there was no bar code – “How much is this?” “It’s $1.” Take them a corkscrew “How much?” “$1.” I did that for a whole afternoon once, and kept getting the same answer.

In high school, my 10th grade history teacher was going on and on about the War of 1812. He talked for a good 40 minutes, then I raised my hand and asked, “When was this?”

Stupid questions. We like to think there aren’t any, and we tend to ask them anyway.

I asked God a question recently. A very specific question, and I got a very specific answer. I’ve been asking this same question for about 5 years now and have never gotten an answer before. This time I did, and I did not like the answer, so I became angry and whiney. It was kind of a stupid question anyway.

We want to know so much from God, and a lot of how he operates is not going to be revealed to us this side of eternity. Sometimes though, God will surprise us, and if your experience is anything like mine, we generally don’t like the answer we get.

God is not a Magic 8 Ball. In fact, there’s a whole segment of the population that thinks they are from the devil. Same with astrology, palm reading, tarot cards. We have questions but very little in the way of answers. Many times we just make it up as we go along since the answers aren’t forthcoming and end up in worse shape than we started.

As for me, I basically asked for a timeline on a certain thing, and instead of weeks or months the answer was years. YEARS. Can I fast track this? Can we skip some steps? How do I bypass some of that and still get to where I need to be?

I can’t. You can’t either. God has a timeline for you, a process for getting you from point “A” to point “Whatever.” It’s called “sanctification” and it’s all about your (and my) character. The very fact that I got mad at God’s answer is an indication that I am not ready to step into my destiny just yet. Instead of whining and complaining about the answer, I should have been thankful that there’s light at the end of this particular tunnel. I’m not ready.

The other part of the answer that should have encouraged me is that I’m on the right track. I need to keep doing the things I’m doing and I’ll get there – and again, my response to God’s encouragement was not consistent with someone of character.

Why do you need to know this? Well, part of my path is one of transparency, and part of it is of writing it down. I am instructed by God to share all this and I don’t know why. Well, I kinda know why. Many of you are struggling with the same thing – How long? What’s next? How do I do this? How do I get where I need to be? And every time I write something, several people let me know it’s just what they needed to hear.

I write what God puts in my heart and mind, and he blesses people. That’s where I’m at right now, and honestly, there’s nothing to complain about there.

I’m going to keep asking these stupid questions, because “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for  bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)

God loves it when we ask him things, when we seek him. He loves it when we depend on him for the answers. And he loves to give us what we need.

I needed an answer, one was given, and after much belly-aching, soul searching, sour attitudes and crying, I can live with it. Which gets me one step closer to his promise for me.

What about you? What are you seeking? What kinds of questions are you asking? What answers are you getting? With God, there is no stupid question. You might not like the answer, but that’s between you and him. And you better learn to love the answer because it is what is best for you.

Rich Nifong

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I love Jesus, my wife Cheryl, my girls Trinity and Zoey, Gateway Church, long walks in the rain and anything on Discovery.

5 responses to Ask a Stupid Question

  1. I’ve been searching along the same course of a generic “when” question for a while (4-5 years). The “when” has seemingly arrived recently, but the more important question now is exactly as you pose: What am I seeking now. I’ve expected this new chapter (volume really) to begin for a long time. I’ve been waiting for it through what has been a tortuously long time (the extent of what God knew I could endure). Now – life continues, and I certainly haven’t “arrived.” So I need to begin looking for the next stupid question I need to ask and seek the answer for. My father used to regularly quote an old pastor of ours: “live in the mean time.” I may have found myself quoting it a few times since. We are constantly seeking whats next (I am anyway), but in the mean time, life goes on. If the thing God has for us is years away, there is tons of “mean time” that doesn’t need to go wasted – so we ‘live in the mean time,’ and accomplish God’s other intents along the way. It’s been tough for me lately (long term lately) but I pray that asking the questions of what’s next, and living for Him in the mean time, will put me and keep me back on track.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Definitely timely for our life. We have had so many difficulties since we moved from TX. We’ve struggled w/why is the job right & everything else going wrong. We have finally found a church home and can see some light in the tunnel. We have an answer to one of our questions but not some others. The last few weeks I have really been struggling with “when will it be better?” Thanks for reminding me God keeps his promise but it will be in His time not mine.

  3. Branch! Love you man – thanks for your comments. I forgot to live in the mean time, and was really angry about the mean time. I considered it a wilderness where God dumped me to figure it out on my own, alone. In reality it’s not like that. The wilderness is where God’s people are prepared for what comes next, and I’m beginning to see that the amount of time spent there is up to us. I need to learn to trust God before I can have what he wants for me. It’s entirely up to me whether I ever get there or not. Either way, he is still faithful. Which for a while made me even more mad. I’m getting over that part though, and looking forward to whatever it is -

  4. Official “4th of July Holiday Help Rich Get to 100 Contest.” Click the link and share the link – when I get to 100 clicks I’ll post the result on FB and the 7th person to comment gets a $20 Amazon gift card!
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  5. beth pritchett July 4, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    We are such weak flesh. we do what we hate and long to do what we know is good for us but, like eating carrots and exercising regularly, it doesnt happen. discipline is probably the most difficult of the fruit to master. maybe that’s why it’s last on the list. if we don’t learn the lesson, we are destined to repeat the judson until we pass the test

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