Home > Life Thoughts > Why is God so mean?

Why is God so mean?

That was the question that I received this morning from my 11 year old daughter.  She has been crying on and off since coming home from school yesterday and this morning it boiled over to that question:

Why is God so mean?

To understand why she asked this question and why she has been crying, you will need to know that one of her classmates died unexpectedly this past weekend while on a sleepover at a friend’s house.  My daughter found out at school.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t qualify as light breakfast conversation.  My wife asked me to drive Brianna to school  this morning so that I could have more time to talk to her about how she was dealing with this.  The adult in me wanted to start with the philosophical question – “What makes God mean?” – in order to create a logical presentation that it is our perception that is skewed, but then I remembered that she is 11.  And this is only the second time that she has had to face the death of someone close to her.  The first one was her grandmother who died of cancer when Brianna was about 6 years old.  That impacted her greatly but I think children understand that the natural order of life is that the older people die first.  This death is tough because it is someone her age and that doesn’t seem to add up to being fair or right.

In my conversation with Brianna, I told her that we don’t have all the answers to why God chooses which people to take at which times.  Sometimes the best answer is simply – “I don’t know”.  Life isn’t always going to make sense from our limited perspectives and death isn’t any easier to understand when it comes for one that is so young.  I left my daughter with this thought though, we should all be thankful for the time that we had with those individuals that have gone on, especially those we have counted as friends.  While we grieve our loss, we should also be thankful for their impact in our lives and for their hopeful gain in the afterlife.

You would think the question she asked was tough, but she made a tougher statement when we were talking together about eternity.

But, dad, I don’t know if she was a Christian or not.

I was better prepared for the conversation on why we perceive God as being mean than I was to responding to that statement.  And to tell you the truth, I am still mulling over how that thought, that is going through my daughter’s mind, is impacting her.

I almost want to ask the question – “God why are you so mean?”  because, to me,  she is not ready for these types of  questions and emotions.  But, then, I am an adult and have the benefit of a past where I have been through those same circumstances – and worse – and realize that God is always shaping us for who we will be and what we will be in His greater purpose.

I love my daughter and want to protect her from some of those tough things in life, but ultimately, she is God’s and He has entrusted me with her care while He shapes her purpose.  I pray that I am sufficient to the task.

  1. armouredprincess
    April 21, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    That’s sweet Tony. She is God’s. You are doing a good job! God bless you and your family.

    • April 22, 2009 at 12:47 am


      Thank You. She is God’s and we are blessed to have both of our daughters.

  2. April 21, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Why do kids have to ask such hard questions? Why can’t they just stick with “Who made God?” or ones like that? Anyway, you answered well T. In my book, admitting you don’t know the answer is sometimes the best answer. You were there for her and she will move on but remember her daddy’s sensitivity. Well done my friend.

    • April 22, 2009 at 12:50 am

      I don’t know how it is that they are able to ask such hard questions. They certainly have a knack for it.

      Today was a reminder that I need to spend more time disciplining my children. They need me more than I realize… I am the only dad they have.

  3. tam
    April 21, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    “But, dad, I don’t know if she was a Christian or not.”

    my heart was breaking to learn that her young friend died. but then i read that second quote and just starting crying. that is such a heavy thought for her to carry. but, tony, i think you handled this perfectly. you were honest in what you know and in what you dont. and you were there. and she knew she could talk to you and ask you those questions. THAT is a gift.

    im proud of her for sharing with you and proud of you for being such a great daddy to her.

    i didnt have a dad…your presence, availability and accessibility is immeasurable.

    • April 22, 2009 at 12:52 am

      Thanks Tam,

      My wife shares you lack of having an earthly father and she does a good job of reminding me that I need to be there for our daughters. She deserves more credit than I do. You can sign me as – “Still trying to figure it out”

  4. April 22, 2009 at 3:10 am

    I’m not a parent (yet), but I get to do it vicariously through sharing in friends and family.

    So I’m definitely still trying to figure it out…and I figure I always will be…

    Thanks for sharing where you’re at Tony. It’s inspirational.

    • April 22, 2009 at 12:54 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your kind words, David.

  5. April 22, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    As a guy who is not a fan of the “if you died tonight” style of evangelism, but is terribly remiss in actually DOING what I say we SHOULD do as Christians, this pulls at me hard.

    No one should take it lightly that we Christians should point others to Christ. The poignant reminder here is that MANY die daily about whom “we don’t know”. At least for me. (I know that’s not the point of your post, so forgive me.)

    So many die without believing. I believe that salvation is through and through a work of God, but it should break my heart and the heart of every Christian. I believe that it is a truly individual thing for a person to accept or reject Christ, and that in NO WAY is another individual responsible for someone’s salvation or the lack of it, but it’s so sad that so many don’t believe. Paul wrote about this a good deal in one of the epistles, talking about the Jews that he so desperately wanted to see converted.

    This definitely doesn’t ANSWER anything; I’m just rambling. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    • April 22, 2009 at 1:02 pm


      Totally get what you are saying. Salvation acceptance/rejection is up to each individual. I do believe that we are left with a responsibility to share.

      Romans chapter 10 and Ezekiel chapter 33 are hard to get away from for me. I would be curious as to how you view the Ezekiel passage about the watchman.

    • April 22, 2009 at 1:03 pm

      by the way… how is the arm?

  6. April 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    The arm isn’t too bad, really, but elbows are terrible. It’s literally like there’s concrete in there and somehow me and that therapist are supposed to work it out. BREAKING it was not too bad, but it takes a LOT to get that motion back. Worst joint in the body, I understand.

    Watchmen on the wall, crying out to warn of impending doom. Ouch, yes.

    I view that Ezekiel passage as very convicting, is how I view it 🙂 I don’t truly know how verse 8 fits into “Grace”, or when exactly those watchmen who refuse to warn someone will be held accountable, I honestly don’t know. Even though I believe in the election of the saints, we ARE held accountable for obedience. However, I can’t make the choice of salvation FOR someone else. Nothing I do determines their destiny. That’s God and his grace and his wisdom. BUT, I am still accountable to obey. I have a lot of work to do – my knowledge far exceeds my application.

    • April 22, 2009 at 1:28 pm

      I am with you on the knowledge part exceeding application.

      Its a tough topic because we would have to dig into the difference between predestination and election and how our actions impact that process. Paul spoke to the Corinthians about how I man planted seed, another watered, and finally another would see the harvest. Only God could create the growth.

      In that same passage it talks about how each of us can build on the foundation that has been made in Christ with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw and that one day those works would be tested with fire. So I believe we will give an account of what we have done with the work that God has done in us.

      And on the elbow, that sounds like a long haul to get everything working as it should. As we get older, it makes it all the harder. Keep up with it though.

  7. April 22, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Wow. That was a powerful post.

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. April 22, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    “But, dad, I don’t know if she was a Christian or not.”

    Wow, kids really do ask the tough questions. Challenging me to think about who I don’t the answer to that question about in my own life.

    Awesome that you and your daughter have these conversations. We never talked like that in my family.

  9. tam
    April 25, 2009 at 1:50 am

    i just think youre cool.

    that is all.

    as you were.

    • April 25, 2009 at 3:28 am

      not sure about cool… mostly just a confused wanderer on a big ball of mud floating in a lot of empty space. 🙂

      • tam
        April 25, 2009 at 4:08 am


        you mean youre in my back yard???


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