As a strong-willed person who is filled with lots of my own ideas and preferences, hearing those words is like a flame under my feet. I want to scream “How dare you,” stick my nose straight up in the air and completely ignore everything that you just said. Because YOU said so?!?!? Yea right.
As a parent of three boys, I do have to admit, though, however sheepishly, that I have used those words. Why Mom? Why do I have to clean my room? Why do I have to help you? Why do I even have to listen? My answer sometimes – Because I said so. Their questions are not always trying to figure out if this in in their best interest or how beneficial this is for their future. It’s a challenge. It’s a challenge of who really has the authority, who is gonna be in charge, and who knows best.
Authority is a funny thing. It’s something we want and will work towards while at the same time, buck against and do everything in our power to get out from underneath. We long to have it over other people while hating it when others have it over us. Such an unrelenting cycle.
I recently taught my boys about authority from our homeschooling unit and their definition struck me. Normally, when I think of authority, I go to the dictionary version – the power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior. Pretty much all about control. But instead, their definition was that when you have authority, you are given power to PROTECT those underneath you. The purpose of authority is to protect, the ability to make decisions for others for their good. It’s not about your good ideas and your plans and showing off your awesomeness. It’s about others. It’s about putting them first and making decisions that will be for their good, not your glory.
What happens when you are the one under authority and the answer to your question is a simple, “Because I said so.” Or you are told to do something you just don’t like.
Take your son, your only son Isaac whom I know you love deeply, and go to the land of Moriah. When you get there, I want you to offer Isaac to Me as a burnt offering on one of the mountains. – Gen 22:2 The Voice
Leave Samaria. Go south to the Jerusalem-Gaza road. – Acts 8:26 (to Phillip, preparing him to find the Ethiopian)
You are not to commit adultery. You are not to take what is not yours. You are not to give false testimony against your neighbor. You are not to covet what your neighbor has or set your heart on getting his house, his wife, his male or female servants, his ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor. – Exodus 20:14-17
God didn’t always explain, but there was always a purpose. There was always a heart to protect those who needed protecting, like the Ethiopian or setting an example for the world of what is to come. He wants us to trust Him. My ways are higher than your ways. Trust me.
But that can be hard. Trust a God we can’t see? Trust that when He asks us to do something that makes us uncomfortable or nervous that we should still say yes. Why God, why? I cry out. But we forget, we serve a GOOD GOOD FATHER whose authority is unmatched and fully understands the depth of what authority TRULY is. But sometimes, more often than I want to admit, I challenge. I want to get it. I want to know what you are asking me to do is for my good. I want to understand. And sometimes I just want to challenge something I don’t like. And when I do, like Job, my answer might be Because I said so, and I am who I am. Do you trust me?
It can be unnerving to trust when the only answer you get is Because I said so.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:9
But when I do trust, like fasting when life gets overwhelming and I can’t even think anymore, God protects me, helps me, and saves me from this fallen world that wants to keep me away from Him. He is exercising His authority to protect me when I obey. The Israelites didn’t know why they had to fast, other than because God said so. God knew we didn’t need all the information. We just need Him.
Where are you bucking God? In what areas are you challenging because you are afraid of the authority God wields? Where are you ignoring His protection from your own fears? I ask you, is it better to stay under your own protection or under the protection of the King of Heaven whose authority reaches far beyond our own and knows how to love us deeper than you’ve ever known? Even if you hear Because I said so.