– Pastor Brandon’s article from the July 2017 Newsletter

William will be four years old this month! Wow, I don’t even understand how this happens. The time has gone by so fast, and it’s been an adventure.

I still remember the day when I finally stumped him. We were just getting into the stage where everything we said was followed by a “why?” from William, and of course, it was driving us crazy. At one point he did something he shouldn’t have, and I turned the tables. “Why did you do that?” I asked. He simply replied, “because.” “Because why?” I pressed further. He just looked at me, speechless, perplexed. I could see the gears turning in his head, but he couldn’t come up with anything to say in response. He even looked a little defeated as he accepted that I had won the moment.

Later that night, William once again did something that required questioning, and I eagerly took to the task, salivating at the chance to silence him again. “Why did you do that?” I asked. “Because,” he replied. “Ah, I’ve got him now,” I thought as I brought the hammer down: “Because why?” He paused for just a second, held a finger in the air, and triumphantly declared, “Because so!” He was so proud of himself, and all I could do was laugh. In the space of an afternoon, he had formulated a “successful” reply to my questioning.

For a while, “because so” was quite an effective phrase with him. He himself established it as the final answer, and we’ve used it against him. Whenever he asks “why,” we take the necessary steps to get to “because so,” and he usually accepts it without argument. When we say “because so,” that settles it in his mind, and he moves on.

Unfortunately, things have changed over the last two weeks, and his thinking has become a bit more sophisticated.   Lately, when I say “because,” he replies authoritatively, “‘Because’ is not a reason!” Apparently, that’s a phrase mommy uses when she’s trying to get to bottom of something, and now, she has weaponized him!

They’re right, you know. “Because” is not a reason. With William, we constantly find ourselves trying to discern how to approach each situation. When he asks, “why?” there are times when “Because I said so” is the appropriate response. Mommy and Daddy know and under-stand some things that William can’t comprehend right now, and he has to learn to accept that we’re responsible for him and trust us to look after him even when he doesn’t understand.

On the other hand, there are plenty of things that we try to explain to him. Part of our job as parents is to prepare him for what’s ahead. Little by little, our goal is to teach him how to process things and think about life. We want him to learn how to think through the different situations in which he’ll find himself so that he can respond wisely. We try to model this for him the best we can because one day he’ll be making these decisions by himself.

This is especially true in the realm of faith. As he grows and we continue to teach him about God, our desire is that he develops his own relationship with his creator. We want him to know God for himself and grow in his personal walk with the Lord. If his faith is built solely on mom and dad’s, if he only believes because mom and dad said so, then that faith is almost sure to fail. That kind of faith will not sustain him in times of struggle, and difficulty, and hardship. Like the rest of us, he too will have to wrestle with the deep questions of life. While I’ll do my best to help him along, the only one who can truly satisfy is the almighty, all-loving, infinite God, and William will have to experience him for himself.

So, with this in mind, it’s time for me to ask a few questions. What do you believe? Why? (Allow me to gently remind you that “Because” is not a reason.) What difference does it make in your life? Is your faith built on what somebody else says, or do you own it? Parents, teachers, friends, pastors can all be a great help along the way, but when it comes down to it, do you believe simply because they say so? Or, do you believe because you’ve searched the Scriptures and heard the voice of the Lord calling you to walk in his deep, abiding love?

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… (1 Peter 3:15)

Join us in Sunday School beginning July 16 as we begin a series on the foundations of the faith. What We Believe, Why, and What Difference Does It Make?

 Pastor Brandon