I’m pretty sure I drove my parents nuts when I was younger because I had to know the “why” of every rule, every request, every responsibility… everything! The old tried and true “because I said so” response would have made me lose sleep at night wondering,”Who are these imposters who called themselves my parents and why won’t they be honest with me about why I can’t put my finger in that light socket?” It wasn’t just that I wanted to know why; I needed to know why. It was the way I learned to trust.
So now I’m almost 43 years old, and guess what. Nothing has changed in this department. I’m worse than ever. I need to know WHY my kid can’t take a water bottle to school, or WHY the DMV will not let me smile on my driver’s license. It’s not that I don’t want to comply. I’m really not a rebel. I just don’t want to be jerked around by people who think meaningless rules equal power.
The good news is, when I understand the context of “WHY?” in any given situation I am extremely cooperative – quite low maintenance, in fact. I just don’t want to be a robot that is programmed to do “whatever” with no meaning or context.
Asking, “Why?” is discouraged by some, particularly in matters of faith. Questions seem to indicate weakness or lack of faith.
I beg to differ. If the God of the Universe is really all-powerful, all-knowing and if he really created every fiber of my being, why would be be afraid of the questions that come out of the very nature He wove into my mind and heart? (He wouldn’t.) He has the world’s broadest shoulders. We can ask Him, “Why?” We can be honest with Him. (Why do I know this? Because I do it all the time, and He honors my questions with insight… or at least peace when the answers aren’t clear.)
With that in mind, one of the most helpful things I ever learned about faith is the truth that God did not create commandments or standards to manipulate us. He created us to be individuals, not robots. Every command given to us in scripture is given to protect us from natural consequences that would ultimately be harmful to us.
Somehow it helps to understand that the WHY of obedience is LOVE. He wants us to obey Him for our own good because He loves us. He isn’t some “Barney Fife” rule guardian who needs us to make Him feel powerful. He is all-powerful, with or without us.
Knowing that, I long for obedience. I pursue it like a hungry hawk.
If you’re like me and have “why” questions, go ahead and ask them. The sky won’t fall. And you might even feel love like you have never known.