The Question Behind the Question

“Man raises himself toward God by the questions he asks Him”

Elie Wiesel, Night

I have had quite a bit of sales training in my life. Once I even attended a seminar entitled “How to Handle Objections”. In all honesty, I thought the seminar would teach me how to talk anybody and everybody in to buying anything and everything. I found that concept to be quite fascinating! But instead of learning “manipulation 101” at the seminar, I was actually taught a concept that changed how I respond to seasons of adversity in my own life.

The question behind the question (QBQ).

The concept of QBQ suggests that our first reaction to adverse situations is typically outward-focused. Therefore, the questions we ask while in adverse situations are often incorrect and unproductive. These questions come from a place of victimization and defeat. For example: ”Why is this happening to me?” “When will it be my turn?” ”Who dropped the ball?” However, we can actually position ourselves for positive and empowered forward-motion in our situations by asking different questions. These are the QBQs. They look like: ”What can I do to help?” ”How can I make a difference?” “What does it look like to be my best self right now?”

Asking myself QBQs has helped me keep moving forward. More specifically, I have had profound moments of healing when I ask God my QBQs…

“Hank, what can I do to help my situation right now?” “Hank, what can I do to make a difference?” “Hank, what does it look like to be my best self right now?” “Hank, who do you want to be for me right now?”

These specific QBQs have propelled me forward sometimes in seasons of paralyzing fear. This has been my rhythm for several years now.

But what happens in a season when the questions look different? What if the adverse situation is more of a life-and-death situation? What if it’s about more than being uncomfortable, its about saving the life if your child?

“Why can’t the doctors find what is causing my child to be so sick?”

“What do I do when there are no answers?”

“Will my child suffer her whole life and then just die an early death?”

“What am I missing?”

“What if I have to move forward without her?”

But the most sobering question of all is the heavy one that is actually driving all of the other questions. It takes all of the courage in my being to approach this question. It isn’t empowering. It doesn’t move me forward past adversity. It seems more heretical than helpful. But it is so freeing to ask God the question behind all of my other questions…

“Hank, why haven’t you healed my daughter?”

There it is, heavy like a bowling ball dropping on a wooden floor. But more than asking “why”, my heart cries out from the weight of the millions of bowling balls that have been slamming against it as I wrestle this one…

“Hank, are you powerful or are you good? A powerful God would’t ignore a problem He could easily fix. A good God would not allow my child to suffer. Either you can heal my daughter but you wont, Or you can’t heal my daughter, but you want to.”

And like a wrecking ball comes the heart of it all…

“If you are neither powerful nor good, why are you worthy of my praise?”

My QBQs are not structured in a way that beckons me forward. Yet, I desperately feel as though they must be asked and God must address them if I am to move forward. What do we do when our questions keep us stuck? I don’t know. But Im finding the courage to ask them anyway.

“I pray to the God within me that He will give me the strength to ask Him the right questions”

Elie Weisel, Night


“I was very, very religious. And of course I wrote about it in ‘Night.’ I questioned God’s silence. So I questioned. I don’t have an answer for that. Does it mean that I stopped having faith? No. I have faith, but I question it.”

Elie Weisel

3 Comments

  1. Oh, Janna – I hear the cry of your heart, and we are partnering with you staying in that place of not knowing why God does not always act but knowing that He is good even when we don’t understand it. We love you and are here to hold up your arms when you feel you have no more strength. You are not alone in this dear one. ❤

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