Today I received an email from a young man who heard me teach at a recent Wild at Heart retreat. His email was simple and startlingly refreshing.
“Can you give me the names of a few authors you would recommend as I start out on this journey?”
It’s rare for me to hear good men ask honest questions. It takes humility, courage, and honest soul-searching.
I’ll never forget the first time I heard John Eldredge teach on the Larger Story: the Gospel as a four-act play. It was September of 1998, and the Larger Story revolutionized my heart as a young man. Next thing I knew, I was in his office. “I’m in. Where do I sign up? What do you need?” I couldn’t put it into words at the time, but what I was asking for was discipleship. I was looking for a man to walk me through the masculine journey.
Weeks later I came and said it: “John, will you disciple me?” I’ll never forget his response.
“Real discipleship doesn’t happen with programs or formulas. It is shaped by asking questions. What are your questions?”
I’ve been asking questions now, of many older and wiser men, for 13 years. It’s transformed my walk with God beyond belief. I’ve learned in humility another great secret: to ask questions of good men, even when I am sure I already know the answer.
There are great treasures to be gained, but few people are asking questions.
“Answers before questions do harm to the soul.”
In this age of gross overload of content, answers are abundant. But questions are rare.
There is a tremendous gravitational pull from both our broken culture and our broken souls, to hide behind answers. The thirties is a decade of excavation. Excavation of the masculine soul begins by digging deep and letting the honest questions buried within us come to the surface. Often hidden behind the questions that first surface within us are even the deeper questions—the golden questions—the secrets to our restoration.
Have you noticed how often Jesus leads with asking a question? He must be on to something.
In the last week I’ve asked older, wiser men questions about a lot of topics:
Survival is the 101 version of the Abundant Life. No one knows survival better than the Navy SEALs. This is one of their mottos in their missions, as communicated by Cade Courtley in SEAL Survival Guide:
“Never hesitate to ask a question that could save your life.”
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. And the teacher needs the student as much as the student needs the teacher.
What are your questions?
Who are you asking?