When I was a freshman in college, my Introductory Biology class was taught by a group of instructors who did very little to encourage student engagement. They certainly did not create a climate conducive to asking questions. We’d show up for class, take notes, read the textbook and complete the lab assignments. But interacting with the instructors? Yeah, not so much.
So when we had our first exam, we all stared at the questions and multiple choice answers. There, in black and white, were possible answers such as NADH, DEAE, EGTA and NOTA.
I’d done all the homework and completed the labs. I’d even studied for the test. But for the life of me, I could not remember what NOTA stood for. And I certainly was not going to ask. Nor did anyone else.
Fast forward to the next week when the instructor returned the graded exams and went over the correct answers. Murmurs and groans could be heard throughout the classroom when we discovered that NOTA stood for “None of the Above.”
I’ve been thinking about NOTA lately after hearing a sermon in which the preacher admonished his listeners to ask God questions but resist the urge to give Him multiple choice options from which to choose His answer.
God, what should I do about this problem? A, B, C or D?
God, what are you doing in my life? A, B, C or D?
It’s extremely possible that the answer is going to be NOTA. God’s answer may very well be something that’s never even crossed your mind. You think it’s going to be A or B and it turns out to be H. Or M. Or W.
Because our God wants to do “infinitely more than all we can ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).
So go ahead and ask God questions. Seek His guidance. But resist the temptation to offer Him options for His answer.