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Standard Questions from Strangers

By Novelist, Tonya Jewel Blessing

I recently read an internet article from “The California Globetrotter” written by an American expat, Lady Lola, living in Germany.

“No matter where I go and who I meet, there are always the standard questions everyone wants to know about America, and they ask me because I’m an American.

“Sometimes I feel like a monkey behind a cage, everyone looking inside wanting to look at it and ask questions about why it’s doing what it’s doing. But I remind myself, everyone is just curious about the American culture and people, and they want to hear it straight from the source.”

Some of the common questions Lady Lola receives as are follows: Did you vote for President Trump? Is there really so much gun violence in America? Is racism still a problem? Do you really drive everywhere? Why are Americans so loud? Have you actually met a famous person? Why do Americans smile all the time? And, Why do Americans put bacon on everything?

Questions often present an opportunity for growth

Recently, I feel plagued by questions where the answers are not readily available.  In some cases, I have kept concerns to myself. I am worried about being judged for my personal beliefs or even misunderstood in what I am saying or refrain from saying. Questions often present an opportunity for growth.

There is an interesting question-filled story in the Bible in the Book of Judges chapter 13. There, a woman, who is unable to have children, experiences an angelic visitation. The messenger tells her that she is going to have a son and gives instructions about how to parent this unusual boy. The woman then tells her husband, Manoah. The Bible says in verse 8 that Manoah prays to the Lord asking for answers to specific questions. God is not offended by Manoah’s inquiry and, in fact, responds with the needed information.

Have you been asking heartfelt questions lately? Maybe you have voiced some of those questions, or maybe you have felt intimidated to make inquiries. Rest assured that God wants to hear your concerns. He wants to help you and to bring clarification to your queries.

Manoah and his barren wife sacrifice a ram to the angel of the Lord (above); Manoah’s wife wears a wimple in Eustache Le Sueur‘s The Sacrifice of Manoah, 1640-1650.
Tonya Jewel Blessing

Tonya Jewel Blessing and her husband, Chris, manage their ministry in South Africa, Strong Cross Ministries. They have been hunkered down with a variety of hospitable family members through the Covid-19 world-wide crises, and separated from those they long to be helping. Tonya, having grown up partially in West Virginia, the Appalachian hills and hollers, is the author of unique fables: The Whispering of the Willows, and sequel, The Melody of the Mulberries. Those who have read the first two installments are hounding Tonya for her third book in the series.

Readers' Favorite Novel ISBN-13: 978-0997162547
This is Capture Books’ best-selling American-gothic novel by a Golden Writer.

A sequel is coming soon!

Synopsis: Fourteen-year-old Emie Ashby has been raised by an angry and repressed father since the end of WWI. Her mother cannot take the risk of defending her children. Instead, she turns a blind eye. In this way, she becomes part and parcel of the abuse of her daughters. Emie enters into trouble times as Aunt Grace provides a way to possibly survive it. How does Emie navigate the road that lies before her with so many threats nipping at her heels?

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22 thoughts on “Standard Questions from Strangers”

  1. I sometimes feel hesitant to question God. This is a great reminder that is ok to go before Him with our confusion. Also, Loved the story of Manoah as it is seldom told.

  2. Very interesting blog post! I think it is actually a really awesome thing to ask questions. Asking questions actually helps with growth and it allows you to see perspectives that aren’t just your own!

  3. I really enjoyed reading these reflections! The intro resonates with me as an American expat living in Colombia. These are the standard questions from strangers here: “Why did you come to Colombia?” The not-so-hidden implication is, “Of all the places in the world you could have moved to, why here??” Sometimes, I don’t really know how to answer that question… the best answer is that God brought me here.

    It’s a really good reminder that questions are an opportunity for growth. Unanswered questions are a sign that we need to do some digging, but still rest in knowing that God has the answers. The story of Manoah and his wife is really interesting in this context as it gives us assurance that God will ultimately give us all the information we need.

  4. Being retired from the Air Force I can really relate to those 15 questions but my are different since I served all over the U.S. Many times I will avoid asking God questions but i know in my heart that He is listening and does not get offended.

  5. Short, sweet, and inspirational. I have to admit – I am not familiar with Manoah and his barren wife. Something to take time and meditate on.

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have so many heartfelt questions for God every single day. I don’t think I will ever outgrow that. 🙂

  7. It’s been years since I have lived abroad, but I do remember getting lots of questions as an American. I think, in turn, I had a lot of questions of my own. But the bacon question is a new one for me, lol!

  8. I’m an American living in another country, so I can identify with Lady Lola! But, you’re right. Going to God will doubts and questions should come perfectly natural to us, and it is a great opportunity for growth.

  9. This is a great read – Thank you, Tonya Jewel Blessing. “Why do Americans talk so loud?” That’s funny!
    I feel blessed to think I can take all my questions to the Very One who has ALL the answers; the One who can handle my doubts and fears and give me wisdom.
    Isn’t it interesting that God created us with inquisitive minds? Our questions will ultimately lead to Him.

  10. The thought that God wants to hear our questions and concerns fills me with hope and with peace

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