Why? Why? Why? Will Our Kids Ever Outgrow that “Why” Stage? Will We?
Life Begins with Questions that Have No Answers.
The dynamic beginning to each of our lives is a powerful expression of the way that science and faith are intertwined. Life begins with questions that have no answers: Why this unique combination that made me, me? We know more about our bodies than any other generation ever did. Yet, this knowledge reveals a complexity never dreamed of in earlier centuries.
Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?
At some point parents cry in exasperation, “Why are these children always asking ‘why’?” Preschoolers become curious about the world, their bodies, the relationships that we have with one another. Usually, we can provide answers for their questions: You can see your breath in the winter because ... Snow balls melt when you bring them in the house because ... What happens when we don’t know the answers to their questions? From the early years, we can model behavior that it is OK when we don’t know the answers. “I don’t know why, but I know how we can find out.” Trips to the library, visits to Internet sites, and asking experts are skills that will help the child throughout school.
Why Does this Generation Seek a Sign?
But what about the questions that have no scientific answers, like Job’s question, “Why do the wicked survive, grow old, become mighty in power.” (Job 21:7) As children become adolescents they try to comprehend the injustice in the world. In a culture that places huge collections of knowledge at their fingertips, they are left without answers. Just as the Pharisees pressed Jesus for a sign, as we emerge into adulthood in our “show me, prove it” culture, we want facts to relieve our uncertainty.
Through our faith, as we enter into the heart of mystery, we enter into the heart of God. The answers may not be revealed to us in prayer, but through an intimate conversation with God we build trust. As science leads us deeper into the complexities of creation, our faith helps us sing with the psalmist, “I praise you, so wonderfully you made me ... ”
Scripture for the Journey
I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. (Psalm 139:14-15)
You are my hope, Lord; my trust, God, from my youth. On you I depend since birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength; my hope in you never wavers. (Psalm 71:5-6)
He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? ... ” (Mark 8:12)