Growing up I had promised I would never utter them. I had heard them spoken by my own mother too many times, and they always frustrated me. But it was just one of those days. My ten-year-old daughter, Bethany, wanted to have a friend over to play. I had to say no. Not liking that decision, she began the inevitable repetition of “Why?”
I tried to explain that we had to drop her four brothers off at soccer practice, then take her sister to the orthodontist, and pick up dinner before returning to retrieve her brothers. Not satisfied, she again asked in a slightly more agitated way, “Why?”
We just didn’t have time, and I attempted to get her to see that it wouldn’t be fun for her friend to be stuck in the car. I told Bethany there would be other days when we would be home, and her friend could come. I preferred reasoning with my kids over the heavy-handed approach, but no matter how many times I gave her my reasons or how many different ways I explained them, Bethany just wasn’t going to accept my answer. After several attempts, her continual “why’s” just got to me.
“Because I said so!” The words I thought I would never say virtually exploded out of my mouth. I’m not sure who was more shocked, Bethany or I.
You know, now that I’m a bit older I realize the simplicity of those words, and the wisdom in heeding them when it is God who utters them. Because there have been many times when He wanted me to do something I absolutely did not want to do, much less understand why He would even ask. Like Bethany, I acted like a ten-year-old, wanting answers without listening for them.
Looking back, I sometimes see the whys in what God has asked me to do. I can see how much poorer my own life would be if I had not done said yes. Because He can accomplish His purposes without me; I would be the one who would have missed out on all the blessings that came from obedience. I would not have seen how qualitatively different life is when I do what He says.
Sometimes we can’t, or won’t, understand what His reasons are. Other times, He doesn’t even give them to us, but instead asks that we love and trust Him enough to obey Him without understanding why.
Just because He said so.
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. 1 John 1:3-5aFurther reflection:
If you love me, keep my commands. John 14:15
1. Do you recall times when your mom told you to do something, and responded with those words when you asked “Why?”
2. How did you feel?
3. As you look back, why do you think she resorted to saying that?
4. Is it any easier for you to obey God, even when you don’t understand the whys?
5. Why, or why not?
Father, I trust You. I know that You are perfect, that You know all things and have good reasons for what You ask me to do. My heart yearns to obey without question and without hesitation, but my self-will is stubborn and wants what it wants. I need Your help to do what You ask without having to understand all the reasons. Because You are my Father, and I love You.