This has been a challenging spring: two devastating tornadoes striking only days apart, the fertilizer explosion in West, the Boston Marathon.
Interestingly, we’ve been spending the entire month on the theme Create. God saw everything he had made, and indeed, it was very good. – Genesis 1:31
So how do we explain to children something like a tornado – an undeniable part of Creation? God is our maker. And sometimes in life bad things happen. So does that mean God makes those bad things happen?
The following is based on experiences from my own childhood. If you can find any of it helpful in conversations with your child, please feel free to share.
When I was five I got a puppy. We named her Pasha.
I loved to play with Pasha, pet her, feed her, run around the yard with her.
But one thing about puppies – they have very sharp little teeth. One day I was reaching for a ball to throw for Pasha, and she reached for the ball at the same time and…ouch! She accidentally bit me on the hand. It really hurt and I started crying.
Now there wasn’t a reason I got bit. It was an accident. Some people want to believe that when something bad happens to someone that they somehow deserve it, or that it’s part of some big plan. I do not believe that God made Pasha bite me. But I do believe that when Pasha saw that I was crying and came over to give me puppy kisses and make sure I was okay, God was there.
When I was a little older, I was playing in my Nana’s backyard. I was having a great time when a bee came and stung me on my finger. I ran crying into the house, “Nana! Nana! A bee stung me! I wasn’t doing anything to it and it stung me anyway!”
I do not believe God made that bee sting me. I just happened to be playing too close to where the bee lived. But I do believe that when Nana pulled out the stinger and kissed my finger to make it feel better, God was there.
As a grown-up, it makes me sad when something bad happens like a tornado or a hurricane. You know, we live in a wonderful, beautiful, powerful world where amazing things happen. And it’s natural that, from time to time, bad things happen as well. Sometimes we want to explain why those bad things happen so we don’t have to feel so confused or hurt. I don’t believe God makes bad things happen to people. God loves us way too much. God’s work is always in the good. When something bad happens, God’s heart is the first to break, God’s eyes are the first to shed a tear, and God’s hands are the first to reach out to us, hold us, and help us know that we are loved.
When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
When I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember the power of your love,
And then I don’t feel so bad.
One of the ways God reaches out and helps us know we are loved is by sending friends.
In the next few days, as we learn how we can be friends to those who need us, we will share that information with you.
Behold, I am making all things new. – Revelation 21:5