I think that’s one of life’s most natural questions.
We all naturally want to know the “why” behind what happens. It’s evident even in toddlers. They sometimes ask why before their minds could comprehend an answer.
For some reason though, being okay with not knowing why seems to be a necessary part of life. We have to learn, as Paul said, to be faithful even though “we see through a glass, darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12), and like Nephi to be content saying, “I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:17).
Even tonight in the YSA face to face event, Elder Oaks shared a related story of an interaction with his son. (You can listen to him share it — I set the time to start right on the story — or read my transcription below.)
[My son] remembered that he asked me a tough question about church history. And he said, “Dad, you said, ‘I don’t know the answer to that question.'” He said, “That was impressive to me because that’s the first time you ever admitted that you didn’t know something.” …But he said, “It was the next part that’s been a strength to me all my life… ‘I don’t know the answer to that question, but what I do know is that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God who restored the fullness of the gospel in these later days.'”
There are many examples of church leaders saying “I don’t know…” It’s a common thing.
Why do we have to be okay with not knowing why?
Pondering on that question has been my HWN over the past week. It’s actually ironic though, huh? If you think about it for a few seconds, the question kind of falls apart in itself…
So going along with the theme of this post, I’ll answer “I don’t know.” And there’s something liberating in saying that. I don’t know why we have to be okay with not knowing why :)
There are so many things I have asked “why” about — in my personal life, church history and policy, political elections, …etc. For some of them I’ve found reasons, but others I still don’t know. And I’m learning to be more okay with that.
In the meantime I’ll lean on the things I do know.
p.s. I got to support my cousin Shawn winning the State Championship for 4A High School football. The won 26 – 0 even though the weather couldn’t decide between rain, snow, and hail!