When My Kids Asked THAT Question--"If God loves us, why do bad things happen?"

After an exceptionally pleasant morning of homeschool, we opted for a picnic lunch. We stopped by the corner market to purchase a few supplies, and the sweet gentleman who owns it gave each of my kids a piece of candy as we left.

As too often happens, after I checked the label, my eldest daughter couldn't eat it because of her severe nut allergy. I told her that I would give her a different sweet treat later at home, but as she watched her brother and sister enjoy their candy at the park, she began to cry. I gave her a hug and told her I understood how she felt because I have watched them eat delicious pizza while I couldn't partake. The empathy helped, but the burning question within her--one that she and her siblings have asked before, one that each person struggles with at some point if not many points--arose from her lips once again: "But why?! Why does this have to happen to ME?!"

Upon discussing the qualities of an imperfect world, and how she is not the only individual experiencing the symptoms of that imperfection, another deeper question surfaces: "But why doesn't God just make it perfect now? He can! He can do anything. If He loves me, if He's good, then why not??"

We've discussed this question in a lot of different ways. And disclaimer--I'm not a doctor of theology over here, nor do I write to impart wisdom to the world, but rather, to chronicle how the Lord put words in my mouth and helped this mama of 3 guide the conversation with His truth. So on this particular day, here's what the Holy Spirit had roll out of my mouth:

"That's a great question, and you're not the only one who asks that. Hmm, what if God fixed YOUR food allergy but not Breanna's? Would that mean that He loves you and not her?"

[shakes head]

I continued, "He could fix yours, and He may do that someday, but how do you think He should determine whose to fix and whose not to fix?"

She said hopefully, "He could just fix everyone's!"

"Ahh, yes! He will! That's His promise! That's one of the great things about Heaven!"

"But why can't Heaven be now? Why can't He just make earth perfect again?"

We discussed how earth got imperfect in the first place, how God didn't choose to bring bad things into the world. He didn't make disease as a punishment. He didn't see the disobedience of Adam and Eve and say, "Because you didn't listen, I will kick you out of paradise and make things terrible in order to teach you a lesson." But instead how the very character of God is Holy--how it is impossible for Him to be fully communing with anything imperfect, and to ask Him to do such is to ask Him to be what He is not. Asking for Heaven on earth is not merely a request of lightening a punishment, but is asking Him to be not God Almighty.

Satisfied with this, she voluntarily added to the conversation how Jesus' death on the cross has made her holy, how she will one day be perfect in Heaven because she has trusted in this. And truly longing to be in the presence of the Almighty, she sincerely asked, "But why do we have to wait on earth first?"

Again, Spirit-led words tumbled out: "Well, look around you in this park. How many of these people have put their trust in Jesus?"

She looked around at the crowds drawn out by the beautiful day. She guessed, "None of them?"

"Is that what God wants?"

A sweet and sad, "No."

"So why does the earth go on and on?"

"So they can know."

"I think so. Because God wants to give as many people as possible the opportunity to be with Him."

This is not a pat answer by any means. It's one of many conversations we've had, and I'm sure there will be many more. If this is a burning question for you at this moment, may I suggest some other sources: this 3 minute video if you're seeking a logical instead of emotional response, and below several articles that have more pointed questions/answers.

"Why is Life so Hard?"
"Where is God in Tragedy?"
"What's My Purpose in Life?"
"Peace of Mind in an Unstable World" 

"Pace Spirituale in un Mondo instabile

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