Children Questioning Why
Thinking back to my years of children questioning why, I remember wondering if their questions would ever end. But they always did. Because their “But why?” always led me to the only final answer: “Because that’s the way God made it.”
With my first child, I remember thinking she would not be satisfied by that answer. And she did always initially ask why God had made that choice.
But when I told her that I didn’t know and we could ask him when we got to heaven, that seemed to satisfy her. Until she thought of her next question.
The pattern repeated itself with my other two children. Always curious. Always wanting to know why. And always wanting to know why about the answer.
Each child repeated the pattern of questioning a surprising number of times .
“Why can’t we see the end of the lake? If there’s land on the other side, why can’t we see it?”
“Why does it get dark at night?”
“But why do I have to sleep at night?”
“How do you know candy is bad for me?”
“But why do dogs bark? And why are they so loud?”
“Why do the leaves turn different colors?”
I started thinking my children questioning why were a sign of the God-shaped vacuums within them.
When Pascal said that each person is created with a God-shaped vacuum within, I don’t think he meant only adults. Our children’s questions also demonstrate their need to know who God is and what he is like.
Their native curiosity demonstrates their growing intelligence, but their willingness to accept God as the ultimate answer is powerful.
They know he is the prime mover. They couldn’t tell us that. But they know its truth instinctively. They know the truth is bigger than us as human beings.
Our need to tell them this truth is just as important.
We need to explain that we don’t know why some fish are created to live in salt water, some in fresh water, and some in both. Because our children need to know we don’t know everything. We may want them to think we know everything. But they need to know we don’t.
And our need to acknowledge that God knows so much that we can’t possibly know fits with our own God-shaped vacuums. We may not always feel the need to tell our children that we are limited.
But it’s an important part of our modeling dependence on him.
And, when we think about it, don’t we as adults constantly have questions we can’t find answers to?
I used to think I had so many questions I planned to ask God as soon as I got to heaven. Then I started thinking I wouldn’t need to ask him when I got there. I would already know. But now the more I learn about the new heavens and the new earth, the more I think learning will be one of the continual gifts of eternal life.
Learning is one of the prime gifts God gives us on earth, so it makes sense that our process of learning in heaven might be even more magnificent.
[photo by joshua-alfaro-353879-unsplash]