We have been having some pretty intense sleep issues the past few days after Olivia had, what she insists was not a dream, but was real. It was the middle of the night when she came screaming into our room as though she was being chased. She insists she did not have a bad dream. She insists that a wolf came into her room and whispered into her ear that he would be back to take her away. She says it couldn't be a dream, because she saw his shadow and felt his breath in her ear when he spoke to her. Dream or not, this was a very scary, very real experience for her.
She has been my little shadow for days, not leaving my side. Nights are literally a nightmare, but each night is getting easier as she learns to trust those night time hours again. We've had many conversations and memorized scripture to recite when fear threatens to take hold of her. One comment she made to me, flashes in my mind all day long:
If God is good, then why did He allow me to be so scared? Where was He when the wolf came and told me he would be back to take me away?
If God is good, why do bad things happen? Isn't this the age old question? But how do we answer this theological question adequately for a five year old when we ourselves can't fully comprehend the why of so much in our lives?
1. No one can fully answer this question, but we trust through our faith, that God knows what He is doing and one day when we get to heaven, we will have our answers. Nothing is random. It's all a part of God's perfect plan for us. (Romans 8:28-29)
2. God cries for those who are suffering. His heart breaks with ours. (Matthew 23:37 Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, John 11:35 Jesus wept when Lazarus died.)
3. We live in a fallen world and Satan is the source of and the initiator of most of our suffering. (1 John 5:19-20)
4. When Jesus returns, justice and healing will finally be there. (Revelations 6:9-11, 20:1-6)
5. Heaven is an amazingly wonderful place and once we get there, our tears will be dried and all of our fears, all of our suffering will be healed as we enter the gates. (Philippians 1:23-25, Revelations 21:4)
We do our best to answer her questions with age appropriate answers and pray God fills in the gaps where our answers are insufficient.
A hymnal has been sitting on our kitchen table for about a week. Olivia had heard the hymn This is my Father's World on one of the shows she watches on the iPad and wanted to know all the lyrics. Instead of googling them, as she asked me to do, we got out the old hymnal and have been singing it from there. I love seeing her point to each word as she sings the age old hymn at the top of her lungs.
As I was sitting here thinking over this question of why does God allow bad things to happen? and how do we help our five year old navigate these tricky waters, my eyes wandered to the last stanza of this old hymn:
This is my Father's world,
O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
The battle is not done,
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And heav'n and earth be one.
The battle is not done!