Between the ages of 2 and 5, there is a persistent question that children ask teachers, parents, grandparents, and other adult figures. It is a little one-word question that can be asked again and again: “Why?”
Now, what’s amazing about this question is that it shows how deeply curious children are about the world in which we live. The ‘why’ question is one of the primary ways children attempt to put things in the world together for understanding. A recent study showed that when adults answer a child’s ‘why’ question with a non-explanatory answer, children are more likely to ask the ‘why’ question again. For example, if a child asks, “Why do birds leave Wisconsin in winter and return in the spring?” and an adult says, “Because that’s just what happens,” then the child is much more likely to once again ask, “Why?”
The ‘why’ question is persistent for children, but also lingers around for adults. Nearly everyone has our own ‘why’ questions bouncing around in our minds about deep things of life. Some of the questions are personal, like the person this morning who posed this question to me, “Why is God punishing me through this ongoing physical pain?” Some of our questions are more general, like the college student who asked me last year, “Is it really possible for Jesus to be the only way?”
The questions people ask—in fact, the questions we share with many around us—are powerful opportunities to witness to who Jesus is. When someone shares his or her deep questions about life and God with us, he or she is opening a doorway into the deep places of his or her spiritual journey with us.
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