I was driving Ben to basketball the other day when I heard this from the backseat: Mom, why did God let our friends become homeless?
Oh boy. Some people close to us are going through a very tough time and my six year old has been wrestling with big issues. I took a deep breath and then tried to delicately pick all the best words from my brain.
It’s a complicated situation… God loves them… He has a plan for them…
I told him that people have been asking these same types of questions since the beginning of time. Why do bad things happen?
Me: Ben, it’s sort of like asking why babies have to die. There are some things we can’t know because we’re not God.
Ben: Oh Mom! I know why babies die! It’s because God wants to be with them.
Me: (Pausing in my tracks for a bit…) Well, okay, it’s like asking why Mommy had to get breast cancer.
Ben: I know the answer to that one too. God wanted you to be with him, but then he changed his mind.
Me: (laughing) God changed his mind about me, huh?
Ben: He’ll want you some day. It’s just that he remembered he can be with you here too, and that’s good enough for now.
Clearly, theology isn’t my expertise. Or Ben’s quite yet. But I admire his childlike faith. He believes that if his mother had gone to Heaven, it would have been because God needed to be with her.
How often do I look at the heartache of the world and think, “God’s up to something good here”? Nope. Usually, I think “What is wrong with people? And where is God in this mess?”
God’s bigger than people — and the things we do and do not bring upon ourselves. He’s bigger than cancer. He’s bigger than homelessness. The bible tells us that suffering produces perseverance which produces character which eventually produces hope.
I don’t know if He’s building our character or drawing us closer by reminding us of our need for Him, but I can trust in two good things when bad things happen: He’s here and His plan is perfect.