It really is one of the most aggravating questions we get from our kids. “But WHYYYYYY?” they whine at us when we’ve told them to do some… or STOP doing something. At first we want to be the good parent and explain in a calm, rational way the wisdom of what we are asking of them. Then comes the inevitable retort, “How cooooome?” So we explain again, this time in shorter, more direct sentences. Then we get the, “But Why?” again. You see kids only have two modes – BUT WHY and HOW COME – and they seamlessly switch between them. After many attempts at reasonable discourse with our lovely angel who challenges our every word, refuses to accept our wisdom, and remains defiant in the face of much greater authority, we resort to our most powerful parental weapon – “BECAUSE I SAID SO!” (This last tactic is a better alternative to shooting lasers out of our eyes). And that ends the conversation, at least for now. I must admit though that after four children, I found myself jumping to end more often than I care to admit. But the reality is that most of the time, we really do have a good reason for what we ask of our children. It’s just that their little minds don’t and can’t understand it. All they know is what they want right then and there. They don’t have the life experience, wisdom or the perspective that comes with time to appreciate our directions. The bottom line is that we love our kids enough to try to mold their attitudes, behavior and values so that they can grow up well. If that means pulling out the “Because I said so” when necessary, we hope, in the long run, it has the effect we intend.
The prophet Isaiah captured this same tendency we humans have to question authority – to question God – much like our children question us.
Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands’?
Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What have you begotten?’
or to his mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’
We ask why. “Why Lord did this happen to me? Why Lord, can’t I do what I want? Why Lord, won’t you give me that job, car, house, (insert your own example here)? Why Lord, do I have to love that person? I don’t even like them. Why Lord, do they get – whatever – and I don’t? Why Lord? Why, Why, Why?” We seem to think that God owes us an explanation for what He is doing as if the world revolves around us when, in fact, it is all about Him. When we actually step back for a moment, we realize that Because-He-Says-So, is a perfectly valid reason. As we move along in our Christian journey, instead of stomping our feet, and holding our breath, we must come to embrace and delight in His Because-I-Say-So.
That should be enough and the conversation should end there, but amazingly it doesn’t. Earlier in that passage from Isaiah, God says,
I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.
Here God answers the Why’s of our life. He reveals His deepest motivation for everything He does in our lives: that “men may know there is none besides me.” Ultimately, God does everything so that people will know Him. Ultimately, it is about His desire to be known.
“Why Lord? Why did You send Jesus to earth? Why Lord, did He have to die like that? Why Lord, did Jesus rise from the dead? Why would you do that? Especially to Him, to Your Son? Why Lord? Why would you do that for ME?”
He answers, “Because I said so.”
So instead of asking God to justify His actions in our lives, let’s take those “Why” moments and turn them into opportunities know Him better and to make Him known. How about turning “Why” into “Who.”