“And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed – only Naaman the Syrian.” Luke 4:27
Now that my kids are getting older, they’re questioning me a lot, as in all the time. I don’t want to be a dictator and unapproachable. Ideally, I want my kids to be completely comfortable asking me anything, even if it’s something outside the boundary lines I’ve draw for them.
Yet it’s driving me nuts that they’re now questioning even the most mundane things I say or ask of them. You know that back and forth where you answer their question, then they flip your answer back to you with with “why” attached? It’s very different from a toddler’s why: that’s just how small children learn. Instead, this is the why of questioning my judgement and decisions.
That endless back and forth has me pulling my hair out and finally yelling, “Because I said so! End of discussion.” I am fed up. Approachability aside, who are they to question me relentlessly at ages 11, 9 and 5, for Pete’s sake?
Yet I find myself doing the same thing with God. “Why does my sister-in-law have lung cancer?” She’s not even a smoker. “Why does my cousin’s granddaughter have Leukemia?” She’s only 2 years old. The list goes on and on as I pepper God with my questions, just like my kids do with me. He has to be as fed up as I am.
In this Scripture passage, Elisha the prophet is from Israel. Yet he doesn’t cure any of the Israelites of their leprosy. Instead, he only cures Naaman, who is from Syria. If I were an Israelite living in his time, and any of my family members had leprosy, you can bet your bottom dollar I’d be questioning why Naaman was cured but my loved ones weren’t. I’d be asking Elisah directly, for sure. But more so, I’d be hammering God incessantly with, “Why? Why? Why?”
Mitch Finley, in his reflection in Living Faith Magazine wrote, “Perhaps He means to remind us to not act as if we have God all figured out. Perhaps He wants to teach us that there are great mysteries and that we should cultivate humility in the face of many things we, frankly, do not understand.” Although he wasn’t referring to this topic, I think the quote still applies.
The bottom line is, there will always be things we don’t understand. Even more sobering is the fact that we aren’t meant to understand them all. If we did, it would be too much, information overload, and far too much responsibility. It’s no different than us shielding our kids from the violence in the world. We do so because we know they can’t handle it; they’re little minds would be scarred by it.
So we need to stop agonizing over “why.” That only causes more anguish. Instead, if we can humble ourselves and just trust the Master of the universe, who always has our best interest at heart, we will find peace. Doing so will also draw us closer to Him in the midst of our adversity.
Regarding my kids, I need to clarify the difference between being approachable, and being cross-examined. I am the mom, the adult in charge, the one whose vocation it is to teach, protect and lead them. If I can succeed at being approachable, I will become a safe haven: a place where my kids can come to when they are confused and need comfort, insight, and guidance.
Conversely, allowing them to cross-examine me strips me of my authority. It sends the message that they’re really in charge: that my judgments aren’t sound until they deem them so, and that any boundary lines I’ve draw can be redrawn if they just challenge me enough.
Regarding God, I need to identify the difference between approaching Him for comfort, insight and guidance, versus questioning His authority. He’s in charge, not me – and thank goodness for that! If I fumble guiding my three young children, imagine the fiasco it would be if I were in charge of watching over the world?
Now the next time my kids cross-examine one of my decisions, I’ll have no qualms saying, “Because I said so.” They’re not going to like it, but they’re going to have to humble themselves enough to accept it. Likewise, the next time I try to cross-examine God, I’m going to have to humble myself enough to accept when He says the same thing to me.
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