It’s a typical morning in our house. My older daughter, who doesn’t need much sleep like her mother, has risen early and savors the time before school. She sits at the island dressed in a cute outfit she picked out last night and we chat about our day. Between bites of breakfast she unpacks new details about school, friends and soccer.
Finishing filling the four lunch bags on the counter I listen to her chatter. I swallow these moments with her deep into my soul. Her youthful exuberance about life and complete trust that God is taking care of everything satisfy some of my deepest prayers.
Jumping up when my husband comes into the kitchen calling, “It’s time to go.” She runs to put on her shoes and grab her backpack waiting by the door. She’s a safety patrol and must be there early. The daily ten minute ride with dad and daughter is quietly cherished.
My committed one softly kisses me just like every morning before he walks out the door. “I love you. Have a great day.” It’s not words without meaning; his life is a declaration of his love. “I love you,” I respond.
The other two treasures make their way downstairs for breakfast. Stories of funny dreams and school plans overflow from my little one. My strong boy sits silently, eating big bites and asking for more. He wakes slowly acting invisible until he finds his voice.
“We need to do our morning things now. Don’t forget to make your bed and brush your teeth.” Somehow my words are the same every morning even though I know they don’t need reminding. It’s a habit, maybe even a tradition. They know our family routine.
Halfway up the stairs my son stops. “Why do I have to make my bed if no one is going in my room all day?” Laughing I come to the bottom of the steps and look into his face. He’s not smiling. He’s completely serious and wants to know.
“We have to take care of everything God has given us. We keep our house clean because this shows God how grateful we are for His gifts. By the way, I go in your room during the day and it’s so great to see a made bed.”
He runs back upstairs to make his bed with his question answered. He needed to know why so he can make it fit into his world.
Why questions flow through our house many times a day. Some trivial, others thought provoking. Each question pleads for a meaningful answer. “Because Papa and Mom say so” doesn’t engage their hearts and minds. If I don’t fully explain the why, then the path to engaging their world with authenticity and truth will be obscured with rules and superficial ideas.
I ask deep questions, and I want those following in my steps to throw themselves in the process. Their questions can’t always be answered in an easy package, but they’re learning to ask, to think and to find answers based on God’s word and not their feelings.
Some of my favorite questions they have interjected into life…
Why do we go to church every Sunday?
Why don’t we believe in Santa Claus?
Why can’t we watch that movie?
Why do we have to clean every Saturday?
Why don’t we celebrate Halloween?
Why didn’t Jesus heal everyone who was sick?
Why can’t we buy a new car whenever we want one?
Why do we have to brush our teeth?
Why does God allow babies to die?
Why do we have to go to school?
Some questions are asked numerous times, but somehow each time my learners can understand the answer more fully. We search the Bible together. We scour history, science, literature and health. I can’t just give the answers; I must show them how to find the answers.
Often I’m the questioning child with God. I ask Him to explain again the ponderings that sometimes pull me out of bed in the middle of the night. He brings me to His Word. He opens doors of experiences that capture not only my mind, but also my emotions into the answer. His creativity in opening my eyes never ceases to amaze me.
I can remember as a child asking why there are seasons. I knew the spectacular contrast of winter and summer, fall and spring explodes with the truth there must be a Creator. His hand changes the leaves into fireworks of color, pours snow from the storehouses of heaven, opens closed blossoms into extravagant flowers, and releases hot rays from the sun.
I still wondered why God would have woven seasons into the earth’s fabric. One day as a teenager I remember reading again in Genesis about the encompassing canopy of the world which produced the most perfect environment. Sin entered the world, and then finally God decided to destroy it with a mighty rush of water. The covering was gone, and the earth would groan until the Creator made it right again.
In the middle of sin and brokenness, the Father placed the beauty of seasons. He could have left it gray and bleak. His earth changed, His heart ached because of sin, and yet God’s overwhelming love for the people He created propelled Him to gather it together in His love. Seasons for sin. Colors for death. New growth for utter destruction.
Kids, even me, need to know why. The whys lead to knowledge and knowledge leads to relationship. The more I encourage my children to ask why the more they can know their Savior. It’s this relationship that matters most of all.
We will ask questions together knowing our Father holds all the answers. They may remain unanswered today, but we can trust He knows.
Copyright © words and photographs by Jane Carole Stein