On the Air: A Radio Interview About Ask Me Anything, Lord

He asked me which question was the hardest to write about….

I sat across from the morning show host of the radio station WXGM (99.1 FM) and was chatting about my new book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Lives to God’s Questions.

It’s a book about how I, the queen of all question-askers, learned to stop talking so much and started letting God ask me questions.

God asked other people questions throughout Scripture.DSCF2165

To Adam and Eve, He asked, “Where are you?”

To Elijah, He asked, “What are you doing here?”

To Peter, He asked, “Do you love me?”

Our God is a relation-builder, a reconciler.  Right from the beginning, Adam and Eve made a mess of things, disobeyed Him, and hid in the garden.  How could they be so foolish, thinking a few fig leaves could hide their whereabouts from an omniscient, all-powerful God who had made them just days before?

But God didn’t lecture, chastise, yell, or rain down fire on them.

Instead, He sought them out with a simple stroll in the garden and this asking:  Where are you?

He didn’t ask because He didn’t know.  He didn’t ask for His own benefit.

He asked to show two wayward children who trembled in fear and hid in shame among the foliage that He loved them.  He still desperately wanted relationship with them, and He would go to great lengths and make the ultimate sacrifice in order to draw all of us back to Him.

These questions of God’s are all through the Bible, and when we let Him ask them of us they root out fear, help us overcome shame and insecurity, and promise God’s presence and faithful provision in whatever circumstance we face.

So I sat across from the radio host last week, a copy of my book about God’s questions sitting on the desk in front of him.  That’s when he asked me, “Which one was the hardest to write about?”

I knew right away what to answer.

It was God’s question to Cain: “Where is your brother?”

When I wrote the book, I had so many questions in Scripture to choose from.  God is such a question-asker.  He fills Scripture with His patient pursuit of His people.  So, I had to leave some out.  I couldn’t cover them all, not in one book anyway.

I didn’t want to write about Cain.  What could we have in common, after all?  The first murderer and a middle class minivan mom like me?

It seemed like an easy topic to skip over, too irrelevant to my life to pay it any mind.ask-me-anything-lord_kd

Yet, even though I wanted to skip God’s question to Cain, I couldn’t.  I knew God wanted me to write about it, and once I started typing on that blank word processor all about it, I couldn’t stop.

Community, after all, can be messy.  Relationships are prone to failure.  They trip us up with their pits and obstacles and shaky ground.  We shove into each other’s space, stepping on toes, bruising egos, making assumptions and getting it wrong.

That’s what Cain’s story is about, really, about how his discontentment, jealousy and unforgiveness grew to disastrous levels until he exploded in rage and destroyed another person….and himself.

Over time, I realized just how much God needed to ask me the same question that he asked this first murderer in history.

Heather, where’s your brother?  Where’s your sister?

It turns out that Cain and I have far more in common than I realized…surely far more than I wanted to admit.

Jealousy….anger….comparing the ministry of someone else to my own meager-looking offerings….defensiveness….whining….broken relationships….needing to forgive others….needing to be forgiven.

That was Cain.

It’s me sometimes, too.

Maybe you’ve been there also.  Maybe you’ve been Cain.

Or, perhaps you’ve even been Abel, subject to the cruel lashing out of someone who’s been hurt or overlooked.

I don’t know who needed the reminder that day while I chatted on the radio or even who needs to know this today, but God created us for community with Him and community with others.  When that’s broken, it rips apart our testimony, it distracts us from ministry purposes, and it taints our offering with bitterness.

So, God asks us this question:  Where is your brother?  Where is your sister?

And He reminds us that He loved people…messy, sinful, broken people…enough to die for them.

Enough to die for me.

Enough to die for you.

If He loved us that much, surely we should love others, too, even when it’s hard and requires repentance or forgiveness, admitting we’re wrong or trampling our own pride.

In the end, the hardest of God’s questions to write about became one of the questions that taught me the most.

To read more about the questions God asks, click here for information about Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Lives to God’s Questions.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!
To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Do I Look Dead to You?

Originally posted April 11, 2012

It’s Spring Break here in the King house and we’re enjoying time together and starting each morning slow.
This week, I’ll be sharing some devotions from the past as I take time for my family.

After we’ve packed the cooler, dressed everyone in bathing suits and sandals, double-checked the bag for diapers, towels, tissues, Band-Aids (for blisters), sunscreen, and more, and then loaded every last item and person into the mini-van, we have the same-old chat with our girls as we drive to Busch Gardens, the amusement park near our home.003

First we begin with the safety reminders, about strangers, about wandering away from us, and what to do if you get lost.

Then we remind them that we aren’t buying every snack, toy, or novelty item strategically scattered along our path through the park.  And no whining when it’s time to go home.

We finish up with the “friends speech.”   It goes something like this:  You are sisters.  God designed you to be best friends.  Don’t ditch your sister so that you can ride in a boat or car or dragon or whatever with some random stranger who you’ll never see again.

This last speech generally elicits the most protests.  My girls are friendly people.  They like to meet new kids and form what they are certain are life-long bonds of friendship while standing in line at Busch Gardens.

So, it was no surprise that during our spring break outing, my middle daughter stood in line for a ride and then announced, “Mom, I made two new best friends!”

Not just friends.  Best friends.

And how did she know these two new girls were now her bosom buddies for life?

“They told me their names, Savannah and Julia.”

That was it.  The loyal bond formed simply by exchanging names.

Friends, best friends, nice people you’ve only just met, a stranger whose name you’ve learned, sisters, the person you thought was your close friend but who gossips about you behind your back  . . . it’s a mesh of relationships they haven’t quite figured out yet.

As difficult as this is, even though life is busy, complicated, hectic, and hard, and investing time in those loyal friendships seems an impossible task, still Scripture tells us this is one investment that’s worth making.

We need a friend who loves sacrificially, and for whom we likewise will sacrifice.  Jesus commanded us to “love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends”  (John 15:12).

We need a friend who remains faithful even when we’re at our ugliest, worn-outest, saddest, and yuckiest, just as it says in Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

And we need a friend who is not afraid to get dirty with us as we live this resurrection life.

Jesus stood at the entry to the tomb of his close friend, Lazarus.  He heard the weeping of others around him.  His own tears trailed down his cheek.  The crowd scolded him for not coming earlier and healing his friend while there was still time.  The pragmatic folks complained about the stink of death and decay wafting out of a reopened tomb.  Mary and Martha shot hopeless, hurt-filled glances in Jesus’ direction.

Undeterred, Jesus demanded, “Lazarus, come out!”  (John 11:44).  The shocked crowd watched as the dead man emerged from the grave, living, breathing, and walking—alive.

But he moved slowly, maybe a little like a mummy in a sci-fi horror flick that plays on Saturday afternoon television.  He didn’t leap out from the tomb and dance before the Lord with all the joy of a resurrected worshiper.

Instead, “the dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.  Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go” (John 11:44 NIV).

Chris Tiegreen reminds us in One Year At His Feet “When Jesus raises us out of our sinful state of death, there is something left to do before we run free.  The grave clothes must go”  (p. 21).

That’s something Lazarus couldn’t do on his own.  Jesus instructed others to come alongside him and unwrap the linen bindings, the remnants of death and the grave that still had him hindered, trapped, and blinded.

That’s the church’s job.  That’s the job of a loyal friend, who patiently strips away all the habitual sins, guilt, shame, false beliefs, hang-ups, terrors from the past, and hurts that trip us up and slow us down.

Sometimes we simply require a love that doesn’t give up on us.

Sometimes it takes someone holding us accountable with truth and lovingly showering us with grace when we struggle with the ugliness of sin.

Only a true friend skips the flattery and digs past the superficial chicanery of niceness in order to challenge us with a truth and encourage us to change.

Only a friend tells us when they see some of the grave clothes stubbornly stuck to our skin and then lovingly and patiently unbinds us so we can live in the freedom of new life.

We need a friend like that.  We need to be a friend like that, who brings grace and freedom to another.

You can read more devotionals on this topic here:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King