My husband and I are raising our second teenager. She’s seventeen, brilliant, funny, stubborn, and loves Jesus. I lose my patience with her more often than I’d like, but I try hard to set good boundaries, give her opportunities to accept consequences, and also encourage her to try hard things. But sometimes, because I really am sounding more and more like my mother, she will ask why she can’t do something and my answer is the dreaded, “because I said so.” It’s the bane of teenagers everywhere.
And I’m guilty.
How many times has Jesus patiently, lovingly, simply responded to me with those very words? And how many times have those words been exactly what needed? When I say to my child, “because I said so” it’s usually because I don’t have a good reason, or I don’t want to explain all the details. I just want my daughter to accept that I know best.
But I don’t know best.
Only God knows truly what is best. Only God can say, “because I said so,” and mean it with full love and honesty. He knows what’s best for me. I just don’t always want to hear it. I want what I want. I hear what I want to hear. I do what I think is best in my own eyes. And somewhere along the way, I’m no different than the people in Judges who, over time, began to do what seemed right in their own eyes.
“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6
And sadly, that’s not the only time the Bible says something like that. I’ve read it so many times and thought to myself, “those silly people. Why don’t they listen to God? Why are they so dense and so selfish?” And then I do what is right in my own eyes and never even consult God, let alone ask for His opinion.
Even though I’ve been chosen by God, and been sealed with His Spirit, I rationalize with human longings that should be giving to God.
Do I hear God? Yes, of course. Plenty of times I hear the voice of God in my heart. I hear His pleasure or His sorrow. I hear His hopes and plans for me. And still I can get so conveniently deaf to Him when I want to.
I’m so thankful that God is patient. I’m so thankful that God bears with me.
“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” Hebrews 12:6
Hear me, though, when I say this: God loves to explain things to us! He loves to tell us why. The problem is always with us. We don’t want to listen. We don’t want to ask. We don’t want to obey. And so, because He says He loves us, and He says He disciplines us out of that love, He lovingly follows through with His promises. And, though we may not believe it, it is for our good.
I wish my daughter would accept my “because I said so”. But mostly, I just want to learn to accept God’s words. If He wants to tell me, “because I said so,” I want to listen. I want to receive it. I want to trust God and I want to trust His Word.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.John 1:1-5
Kinda puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?