Years ago, when I was still pretty new at the whole parent thing, I couldn’t wait for my child to grow and advance to the next stage. I couldn’t wait to see him roll over…then crawl…then walk and talk. On and on it would go. One thing would be accomplished and then there was always the next thing to anxiously look forward to. Then it happened. The next stage came and I wasn’t at all sure that I was happy about it. In fact, I was pretty sure that I wasn’t. But I knew there was no going back.
My son had advanced from beginning to talk and say a few words to being able to verbally process information. He was beginning to learn about the world and he liked it. In his pursuit of gathering more information, he unfortunately became armed with that one terrible word…”Why?”
Everywhere we went, in all situations and as a part of every conversation, out came that word, “Why?” Sometimes it was sweet and innocent and my precious son would look up at me and say, “Why Daddy?” But other times there was a darker expression. One of rebellion and stubbornness and he would ask with every ounce of defiance he could muster, “But why?”
Now, as my third child is well into his 3’s, I am more prepared for this exchange but still do not care for it. There are some days that I simply don’t want to answer to question and I want to ask him back, “Why do you ask me why so much? Why do you want to know that? Why did you say that? Why? Why? Why?”
But there is another experience I have with this question, quite often. When asked from people who love me, who are leading me, who long to challenge me and see me grow, “Why?” becomes a transforming question. I’m immediately called to the deep places of my heart and pushed toward greater clarity and growth when I’m asked:
> “Why did you choose that?”
> “Why do you want that?”
> “Why are you pursuing that?”
When my wife or a close friend has to courage to ask these questions of me, I am at the same time challenged and deeply loved. In these moments, my motivations are made more clear and the noise in my heart quiets. I can see myself for what I currently am. And I can see the version of myself I desperately want to be.
So, I ask you, “Have you ever answered, ‘Why?’ Why do you believe in God? Why do you love God? Why do you go to church? Why are you involved in ministry? Why do you teach your kids to turn the other check? Why is a life of selflessness and sacrifice better? Why?”
I ask because I really want to know. I ask because I really believe the answers matter. I ask because I believe wrestling with these things can and will change your life. It can be the difference between the brokenness of religion and renewal of authentic relationship.
And so, I ask again, “Why are you a Jesus follower?”