Now there’s a question! Many young children love to say this word and many older ones too can be heard to say it in a derogatory way when they are asked to do something they don’t wish to do.
Through the ages this word has been used to try to fathom out happenings that occur around us. There seem to be many mysteries about being a human being. We don’t understand many things and expect life to run smoothly. When it doesn’t many of us adults can cry out ‘why?’ and some even shake their fists at God as if He brought about a difficult set of circumstances.
There is a positive side to this word in that by asking ‘why?’ many scientists have been able to work out all sorts of things giving us a greater knowledge of our world and how even our anatomies work.
The ‘Why?’ question can also become a stepping stone to discovering the wonders of God. When we can’t deal with our human condition whether it is a physical or emotional problem or a spiritual quest then we can earnestly ask God ‘why?’ and, as we are still, there may well be some answers coming into our minds. Our inquisitive nature, as indeed all children also seem to have, makes us enquire of our Maker and He does have all the answers. Sometimes, our understanding of a particular situation is limited and the ‘Why?’ may be delayed in being given to us but sometimes the answer to our question doesn’t come at all. This is when we need to simply have faith and trust God that He knows the bigger picture and will give us clarity in His time.
Sometimes in God’s wisdom, He allows things to happen to seemingly lovely people – the accident, the disease, the misfortune or even the death – but God does not initiate anything harmful to us as He truly loves us and wants the best for us.
Love covers a multitude of sins – so says Peter in the Bible (1 Peter 4:8). Because God is love He can cover us in our circumstances when we hurt and can’t see a way through or out. We can bring our ‘why?’ to Him and leave it with Him who can comfort and help and restore and strengthen us in any given situation or when a simple request is made of us. Children need to realise that God has given them their parents to steer their lives until they are able to choose for themselves what is right and wrong. That is why the Bible clearly says that children are to obey and honour their parents (see Ephesians 6:1-2) so that even when told to do something they can learn to have faith in doing what is required so that their ‘why’ can be relegated to the back burner of their lives. The habits they form as children can then be taken up in adult life so that they can learn to trust the God who made them and understands how they tick.
Next time a child asks you ‘Why?’ sit down with them and explain God’s higher ways of trust so that they can have confidence in doing what is requested knowing that they are pleasing God at the same time. God can handle our ‘Why?’ questions and our children can be confident that God really does know all the answers! Basilea Schlink (a German nun) once said ‘Father, I don’t understand You but I trust You.’ That can be our response as humans to the ‘Why?’ question.