Many of us approach general conference with a hopeful heart, ready to hear the word of the Lord, ready to have our deepest questions answered. But as you prepare to review, reread and rewatch general conference, try recognizing questions from a source you might not have considered before: God.
I want you to consider that God’s questions for you are just as important, if not more important, than the questions you have for God.
For those of you wondering why God, an all-powerful, all-knowing Being, would bother asking questions of us mere mortals, consider this:
After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, they saw God coming and hid themselves. God asked, “Where art thou?”
Obviously, God wasn’t looking for a GPS location. He was inviting them to exercise their agency, to use the knowledge they had just acquired by partaking of the fruit.
Usually, when God asks questions, He’s trying to enable our agency or remind us of things we already know. As you rewatch or read the general conference talks, look for those questions and ask yourself, “Why is God asking that?”
These questions often come in subtle, quiet ways. Sometimes we don’t realize they are from God until later.
I have a method I use to invite God’s questions. Whenever a speaker at general conference, sacrament, devotional or wherever makes a statement like, “Live worthy of a temple recommend,” I like to write it down in question form: “Am I worthy of a temple recommend?”
You have to be careful with this because sometimes you end up with 50 million questions and a bunch of stress and anxiety, but the Spirit will help you find the questions that are most important for you.
As you review general conference, I invite you to seek God’s questions. Invite them, ask for them and you will definitely get them.
You might also wonder what God wants you to do about His questions, especially since He already has all the answers. What could He possibly want?
“To most questions, man wants to have an answer,” said Dennis Rasmussen, a Latter-day Saint scholar. “But to the Lord’s question, man must be an answer. From man God does not need information. Man’s response must be man’s own self.”
After the Savior’s resurrection, He found his Apostles struggling to catch fish in the sea. After telling them where to drop their nets to catch fish, He invited them to a meal on the shoreside.
Sitting there on the beach, Jesus asked his chief Apostle, Peter, one question three times in John 21:15-17: “Lovest thou me?” The third time Peter said, “Lord, thou knowest all things. Thou knowest that I love thee.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland provided an expanded account of Jesus’ answer:
“Then Peter, why are you here? … Isn’t it obvious that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples — and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world.”
What does God want you to do with questions He asks? He wants answers from your actions.
I hope you are now thinking about what questions God has for you, or even questions He’s asked you in the past. Each of God’s questions has a purpose behind it.
I invite you to review the latest general conference, to reread or rewatch the words the Lord has given through His servants. What questions is He asking you?
During Jesus’ mortal ministry, He had many of His disciples walk away from Him because they could not understand or accept His doctrines. After one such walkout in John 6, Jesus turned to the Twelve Apostles and asked, “Will ye also go away?”
Peter responded with a question of his own: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”
The Lord’s questions are also contained in the words of eternal life. Seek them, love them, live them.