Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Right Answer vs. Right Response

A few months ago I read a devotional that stated that there is a difference between knowing the right answer and having the right response. That has stayed with me since then. Whenever I am talking with God, I want answers. If I hear none that I recognize, I can get impatient. In time as I keep listening, I often experience something that brings new awareness to me that helps me to realize that God has been with me all along. I was thinking about this during the experience of the recent anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy 10 years ago.  There are no “answers” to such a horrific experience. On the other hand, there have been both negative responses of fear and anger and ethnic profiling and many positive responses of compassion and reaching out to those in need that have been witnessed and experienced.

I think about the word responsibility, or response-ability. The right response may be in behavior, or in waiting. It may be in listening, and it may be in speaking. It can be in holding on or in letting go. As Ecclesiastes 3 states, “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven…

When I ask God what it means to be faithful as a disciple of Christ, I am struck with the question of what is the right response, not what is the right answer. It helps me take away the need to hear the words and listen to the whole of the experience. It is still difficult to have patience to know the right response, and to know how to respond in the “right” way. But now, I am listening to the experience, not just for an answer.  Plus, this reminds me that it’s about God’s timing, not my own.