"When Jesus saw him and knew how long he had been ill, he asked him, "Would you like to get well?" - John 5:6
Is it just me, or do you also find yourself irritated when people ask questions with apparently obvious answers?
You eat up all the food on your plate—leaving not one morsel, and someone asks you, "Was it good?" (You want to answer, "It was revolting. That's why I ate it all.")
It's 102 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and someone walks up and asks you, "Is it hot enough for you?" (You want to answer, "Not at all. I was hoping for at least 120 degrees today.")
You're laid up in the hospital on a gurney with a cast on your leg, an IV in your arm, a brace around your neck and someone asks: "Do you feel ok?" (You want to answer, "Aside from this cast, this neck brace, this IV and this hospital, I'm feeling just fine.")
Jesus asked a lame man at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem if he wanted to get well. The answer seems so obvious that Jesus should not have had to even ask.
And yet questions—even questions with apparently obvious answers, have the uncanny ability to clear away assumptions.
We should never assume that every sick person wants to be healed or that every unemployed person wants a job or that every single person wants to be in a relationship.
Questions allow people to speak directly for themselves.
It's much easier to pose questions than it is to really listen and respect the answers given. God makes no assumptions. God asks questions and waits for answers.
God, this Lenten season, give us hearts to hear the answers to every question we ask, and integrity to answer the questions before us.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.