“I don’t understand why God had to make things in this world that would hurt us,” my youngest son pondered aloud as we were driving to Wal Mart the other day.”
I thought about genocide, addictions, and discrimination, but asked, “What do you mean, honey? What kinda things?”
“Well, like bees, or poisonous snakes…”
“Oh, well. You know the story about the Garden of Eden, right? How Adam and Eve were living there peacefully with each other and all creatures, but then they ate fruit from the tree after God told them not to?”
“Well, they disobeyed God. So he cast them out.”
“Well, why would they disobey God?”
“Gee, hon, I guess it’s because they were tempted.”
“Well, it wasn’t the right thing to do…”
“Maybe not. But they were only human, just like you and me and the rest of us. It’s just like when I ask you or your brothers to do something and you don’t, like putting away your laundry. Or I ask you to not do something and you do, like sneaking candy out of the dish before dinner. God is our heavenly parent, just like I am your earthly parent. And we all disobey our parents once in a while.”
“So, now because of Adam and Eve, there are things in this world that can hurt us?”
“Yep. Humans have a tendency to sin because we have free will. And I think God wanted it that way so we can be tested. That’s why he gave us the Ten Commandments. Then when we go through a challenge–”
“–Yeah, like in school, I have math challenges.”
“Yep, God is with us through those challenges, too – through all challenges, everything – but I meant things like trials: hard times, sickness, when someone we love dies, sin, suffering. All of these have plagued the world since Adam and Eve’s decision. God is with us through those times. These are tests to see if we turn away from Him or if we turn towards Him.”
“I would never turn away from God.”
“Well, you might. You might be mad at God, just like you are mad at me sometimes. I’ve been mad at God. There have been times when I have asked God, ‘Why are you doing this to me?’ ”
“Well, at least we have Jesus.”
“What do you mean, like how He died on the cross for us?”
“Well, right. And remember that time when we were at your brother’s (7th grade) basketball game and they were playing against 8th graders? And how you kept saying ‘It’s not fair!’ ”
“And ‘this stinks!’ ”
“Well, we all have different trials and that may not seem fair. But I think our different trials are just customized plans for our walks with God: they are personalized opportunities to bring us closer to God. Do you think it’s fair that Jesus died on the cross for our sins?”
“Yeah, me neither. But I am grateful he did, and that’s what I try to think about every time I am going through a tough time. If Jesus could face the cross, I can face…whatever. And if we all end up with God, then it all works out fair in the end, right?”
“Yeah, I guess so. Hey, Mom – can I get a new backpack today?”
“Let me know if you see something you like and we’ll talk about it.”
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