I’ve been watching The Good Wife – sorry to disappoint. If you’re blissfully ignorant, it’s a glamorous drama set in a Chicago law firm in which impossibly attractive people betray each other.
There’s a phrase that comes up a lot in the courtroom scenes: “Asked and answered.” It’s an objection which the lawyers use if their opposition is trying to emphasise a point by asking a question that’s already been answered, like this:
Lawyer 1: “Who was with you in the car?”
Witness: “The accused.”
Lawyer 1: “So the accused was with you in the car?”
Lawyer 2: “Objection, Your Honour! Asked and answered.”
I said to Mike the other day that this “Asked and answered” objection is a phrase I’d quite like to use about a dozen times a day with my 5-year-old daughter. Conversations with her tend to go like this:
“When are we going to Grandma’s?”
“So, tomorrow’s Thursday, then we’re going the next day?”
“I thought we were going tomorrow.”
“Mummy? Mummy? I thought we were going tomorrow! Aren’t we going tomorrow?”
“Miriam, we are going on FRIDAY!”
Of course, while this is going on I’m trying to negotiate a number of other things, such as London traffic, or a toddler tantrum, or packing for said trip to Grandma’s. Needless to say, I need more patience with these conversations. Lord, change me please.
So while I’ve been wondering why (oh why) Miriam behaves like this, one thought struck me (again). I’m probably like that, too. When I think about questions I ask my Heavenly Father, they’re usually questions he’s already answered. Don’t get me wrong, I know that He is infinitely more patient with me than I am with my daughter, but still it’s taught me a lesson that often I’m wasting time and worry on questions that don’t need to be asked.
Do you remember the story of Gideon? It’s in Judges 6 and 7. In some ways it’s quite a funny story – “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior” said to a terrified wimp who’s threshing wheat in a hole*. But Gideon himself is very frustrating. An angel appears and tells him the LORD is with him, but he still questions this very fact five separate times (v13;15;17;36;39). And of course, I must be no better than Gideon, I’m sure.
When I’m worrying about this and that, I really need to just go back to the fact that the Lord loves me, and he loves my family, and he loves my friends. So I can trust him. Instead of flailing around, asking him questions he’s already answered, I can go back to his promises and meditate on them instead:
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.
In my heart I often doubt that the Lord will provide for us, even though he’s clearly said in his word that he will (Matthew 6:25-34), and proven it by the way he’s always behaved:
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32.
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*You need the wind to blow away the chaff when you’re threshing wheat, so this is a bit like flying a kite in a hole, but more silly.