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.