This past Sunday evening the retreat began with dinner, an opening session followed by evening prayer and then the “great silence,” in which we were challenged to just be quiet for the night. Quiet for me meant not calling home, and avoiding the urge to dive into the one book I brought along, just because I think I have to be reading every spare moment! I noted in my journal about some tension I’d been experiencing and about which I was hoping to get some answers during these few days. Not tension as in stress, but that kind of tension that leaves you feeling pulled, often between two good things.
Wouldn’t you know it, the next morning that was the topic of the first session – tension! (I never thought about all the tensions ministry leaders experience – between being and doing, truth telling vs. image management, etc.)
Needless to say, my heart perked up at the word “tension.” Aha! Thank you in advance, God, for the answer. I’m all ears. Oops! Not quite. There wasn’t an answer per se but rather a third way – the way of grace that comes with discernment. A challenge to stay with the questions. To be with the tension in God’s presence. The creative tension, the leader referred to this as.
I can’t tell you how world-rocking this was for me. I’m not exactly comfortable with questions. I want answers. But coming to understand that God is in the questions – well, I kind of want to be there.
I’ve been intrigued by this idea of questions vs. answers lately and recently started going through the book of Genesis, underlining questions. The first three questions God asks are rather revealing: Where are you? Who told you you were naked? What is this you have done? It was through these questions that God spoke to mankind about the truth of their situation. Jesus continues with the question approach throughout his ministry. So it makes sense to me to learn to welcome questions and even be able to ask them of myself.