The Forgotten Question

What shall we do next? Where shall we go? When shall we meet? Who shall we invite? How shall we get there?

What, where, when, who, and how are by far the easiest questions to answer in life. We request and respond to each of them multiple times each day. 

The question we oft-forget is “Why?” – and it’s the question that matters most, is hardest to answer, and easiest to ignore, neglect, or resist.

When a two year old persistently asks us “Why?” with endless vigor, we immediately (or eventually) become impatient. “Because I said so” can become our most frequent reply. A shallow response from an adult who knows better, but grows tired of the constant barrage of the same question. The one that matters most.

Consider as well that underneath every “Why?” are at least five deeper “Why”’s that we rarely plummet. So if we’re impatient with one “Why?” how do we handle multiple appeals for an even deeper response. Try it out…ask a “Why”  question and then ask “Why?” multiple times thereafter and see where it takes you. Hopefully to a deeper, richer place.

On a recent Sabbath walk in my neighborhood, I picked up ten beautiful leaves that had fallen to the ground. They were shades of green, red, brown, yellow, and orange. A swath of gorgeous autumn in my hands. At first, as I picked them up it was easy to answer “Why?” Because my eyes were drawn to their glow in the sunshine. I praised God for his glorious creation.

As I walked, I thought further about what I could do with the leaves. Who would appreciate them most? What were they symbolizing to me at that very moment? Where could I place them? How about photographing them and posting on social media?

And then I was arrested by the thought. Why not simply enjoy their beauty, rather than post the photo on social media? To make sure my ‘friends’ were edified by what encouraged me? To point out my holy pursuit of a Sabbath walk and noticing God’s creation? To see how many ‘likes’ it will attain? To make it all about me?

I decided – thankfully and only by the grace of God – not to present the photo publically at all. To do so was filled with too many mixed motives, mostly surrounding my own insecurities. The deeper “Why’s” were calling forth a deeper response. One that would keep a sacred moment holy and not spoil it with self-prescribed grandiosity.

Now, I can hear your cynicism already…then “‘Why?” share this story at all? Good question!! Solely as an honest wrestling with a real life question, particularly about why we post anything whatsoever on social media (either rarely or multiple times each day).

The most-forgotten question for us today is “Why?” It affects every aspect of our lives: spiritually, relationally, physically, emotionally, vocationally, and financially. Pausing before speaking or doing or responding and prayerfully considering the “Why?” is always really good for your soul. 

Let’s ask “Why?” frequently, embrace it wholeheartedly, and prayerfully consider why before asking what, where, when, who and how. Observe with gratitude what happens as a result of plummeting the depth of “Why” (or why x 5) inside your heart, soul, mind, and life. 

Why? Because I said so :))! Haha…just kidding…it’s because your soul will find its deepest rest in God alone, not in pursuit of any other alternative self-focused affections which are considered more frequently to us, and are all too often absent of the most important question: “Why?”


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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

Steve is a graduate of Northwestern College (IA) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div. and D.Min.). His prior ministry includes serving on the pastoral staff at Grace Chapel (Lexington, MA) and as president of Vision New England. Since July 1, 2003 Steve has served as founder and president of Leadership Transformations, director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building, and adjunct faculty in the Doctor of Ministry department at Gordon-Conwell. He is the author of sixteen books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective),  Baker bestseller Becoming a Healthy Church, and Crafting a Rule of Life (IVP). He lives in the Boston area with his wife Ruth and is the proud father of two grown children, Rebekah and Nathan, daughter in-love Ashley, and papa to his beloved granddaughter, Brenna Lynn and twin grandsons, Aiden Joseph and Carson Stephen. “My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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