Questions. We all have them. Reporters ask them. Kids ask them. Jesus welcomed them and used them. But not every question is asked with integrity. Not every question seeks truth. Accusations, perpetrating assumptions, casting aspersions…all can be at the heart of questions. Newscasts blasting out of Ferguson, Missouri seek to unveil truth. Reports from Iraq uncover the atrocities of hate. Asking the wrong questions produces the wrong answer. A major problem with news reports is that the facts do not always reveal the whole truth. Sometimes details obscure truth by riling emotions and inciting fear.
As Christians, what are we to do with the heartbreaking news stories? Jesus taught a pattern of prayer that helps me sort through the events of life. Perhaps it will bless you too. Luke 11:1-4 is one location but He taught this vital prayer pattern more than once. When we place the facts under the sovereignty of God, there is a peace that allows us to ask the right questions. Our plea to God is that His Kingdom will come. The key question is this: what does His Kingdom look like. As I contemplate the news, I ask the Father what His Kingdom will look like in the face of such tragedies. Then I take the truths I know: He is present in the midst of the turmoil; He has something to say. His will is that none should perish, that the greatness of God will be known. We are His children, called to speak life into the world around us. His Kingdom comes and His will as done as we, the servants of God, act in His ways.
Accusations are the work of the devil. Our questions cannot be focused on blame or judgment. We are to act according to the love, mercy and hope of God. As we ask questions about the news of the day, we must focus on what it looks like to ‘love mercy, do justly and walk humbly.’ We cannot solve every horrific wrong in the world; Jesus did not address every issue that existed in His day. He tackled only what God instructed Him to do. He listened to the Father and acted upon His instruction. Sometimes Jesus taught, sometimes He healed, sometimes He spoke and sometimes He maintained silence. Our response to the tragedies of the day must be God-directed. We serve a God who loves life, who gives mercy and forgiveness and seeks the lost. Vengeance and wrath belong to Him. Accusations belong to the devil. Love and mercy are ours to enjoy and give.
So as we face the atrocities in the news, we must ask questions with the goal of knowing what God would have us to do. The right purpose for questions is uncovering truth. It is an exciting truth to me that God intends for us to see and understand. In fact, Jesus said that seeing without perceiving and hearing without understanding keeps us trapped in sin. He also tells us that ‘there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.’ The Truth of the news reports will not be revealed by questions of accusation and blame; Truth is found when we seek the face of God in the midst of sin. Truth is found when we ask God to show us what breaks His heart–and then we seek to heal in His name.