The Question

Hope you are doing well?

The question hangs in the air.  No, really.  It just hangs there, unanswered.

I guess it seems silly, doesn’t it?

Fine, thanks.  And you?

That is what folks say, isn’t it?

A couple of days ago, I wrote a note expressing my thanks for yet another beautiful poem shared by my young friend on the other side of the world.  The next morning when I awoke, I found her reply—first her thanks, and then—The Question.

Hope you are doing well?

We are friends because of our mutual love of language—words that communicate truth—words that hold open the front door in invitation to come in and sit awhile—words that move the soul just a little closer to our God.

She is a consummate wordsmith—the dance steps in her delicate turn-of-a-phrase achieved without a stumble—her adamant declaration of truth set down before her reader without spilling a drop from the cup.

I am not such a craftsman, my sentences cobbled together with too much punctuation, and my ideas propped up with a leveling shim here and an improvised story there.  Still, the words are hammered together neatly enough—at times.

So, why have I still not answered her question, two days later?  I have answered the same question aloud probably a hundred times since, while talking with folks right in front of me.  I just haven’t been able to write the words in reply to her query.

I think it’s that I suddenly remembered words have meaning.  Idle words spoken may seem harmless, but they will count in the grand sum of our communication. (Matthew 12:36,37)

When we lie—however harmless and commonplace the lie—we devalue the truth that comes from our mouth at other times.

When we lie, we devalue the truth that also comes from the same mouth. Click To Tweet

I am not doing well.

Oh, I’m well enough physically, my doctor having given his stamp of approval on my fitness results last week.  But really, I’m not doing well.

sadboyIn the depths of my soul, there’s a tiny child crying for his mother; there’s a young boy gasping at the unfairness of seeing the work of his hands dismantled before his eyes.  The stress and confusion of walking through a world torn by dissension, and bitterness, and death are almost too much on any given day.

So, we learn to lie instead of telling the truth.

Because, to tell the truth is to live with an overwhelming flood of uncomfortable silence, followed by visits (virtual or otherwise) from the hand-patters, and then by the verse-quoters.  These may lead to the get-a-grippers, and possibly, even a scold or two.

If you find yourself offended by the above paragraph, that is not my intention.  It might be wise, though, if you see yourself in those words, to seek other ways of showing your love for those who are hurting.

But, I still want to talk about truth.  

No.  I want to begin to tell the truth.  All of it.

I’m not doing well.  But, there is more to it than what I feel right now.  You see, along with that most famous of suffering humans, Job, I have one other thing to say.  One more:

I know that my Redeemer lives!

I know it!

Instead of telling you that everything is all right, I declare that everything will one day be all right.  And, I will see it.  You can, too.

We will see Him. 

Sadness? Done!

Disappointment?  Gone!

Tears?  None!

Troubles will pass.  They always do.  Until then, the truth is, He gives grace for the journey.

And, answers for the questions.





I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.
(from I Know Whom I Have Believed ~ Daniel Whittle ~ American lyricist/evangelist ~ 1840-1901



But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and he will stand upon the earth at last.
And after my body has decayed,
    yet in my body I will see God!
(Job 19:25-26 ~ NLT)





© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved. 

6 thoughts on “The Question

  1. And in those times when there are no answers, we can rest in the fact that his knowing is enough. He will tell me what I need to know, and when he doesn’t, then I’ll trust who he is, not what he’s done or hasn’t done for me.

    I have tackled this whole “How are you?” …”Fine.” thing. We do lie. And the problem is, we find it acceptable at times. Loved your post.

    I have a poem I once wrote called, “Just Fine.”

    1. I will admit that “navigate” seems too optimistic a word to describe what I’m doing right now, Martha. However, God IS in control. He is.

      And, it will be well, one day.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!
      Blessings, my friend!

  2. Good and true! Some time ago I began answering the “How are you” question with variations of “Very well, thank you. And you?”-because, as you say, “I know that my Redeemer lives!” I don’t have to feel good in order to say, “I’m doing well.”

    When peace like a river attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll,
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

  3. Such an honest reminder that we never know what truly going on in a person’s life “behind the smile.” A common feeling shared by so many.

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