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Ask and it will be given

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."

But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God."

Mary's mind was troubled, but her spirit was not. She received the angel, questioned him and accepted his words. "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" (v. 38)

Gabriel answered Mary's question and did not send her into nine months of silence, as he did Zechariah. She must have been less skeptical, more curious. "How can this be?" How can a virgin have a baby? How are you going to make this happen, Lord?

When I ask God questions without attitude, without skepticism or derision or outrage, my ears stay open for his answers. What I hear, what I think, what I imagine, can come from outside myself. I'm available.

The art of asking honest questions gets lost in today's culture of sarcasm and knowing-it-all, fostered by yuppie sitcoms and late night TV. Letterman and Leno make fun of everything, keeping their distance and playing it safe. It's much more risky to ask questions and really listen for the answers.

Children, of course, do it all the time. "Unless you become like a little child ..." Jesus said. "Let me tell you who I am, who you are and how you can live your life. And you can ask all the questions you want."

God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and he has the answers to all my questions. How he answers them is up to him. But I want to learn to Ask without guile or judgment or fear.

How can I do this, Lord? What words can I use? When skepticism rises up in my mind, please wipe my mind clean.

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