A Letter To My Kids: Why God Allows Bad Things to Happen to Good People

A Letter to My Kids When the World Seems Cruel,
When I was in elementary school I can clearly remember the day that I realized that the world was a terrifying place. A plane flew into the world trade center and the entire school just froze. The news was on in every class room and teachers were crying out in the hallway. I was so confused and couldn’t understand why anyone would want to hurt people that were just trying to go to work. I couldn’t fathom that they had woken up, started an ordinary day, and that some ended up jumping out of the building because they believed it was their only option. I went home and cried. No one could explain to me why it happened, not even the priests at church.
These days it seems like something awful happens once a month. School shootings, parents that are found guilty of horrific abuse, politics that make me afraid of the future, and religion used as reasons to kill innocent people. Watching the evening news with your kids feels like exposing them to horror movies. With all of this tragedy around us, a lot of people are beginning to believe that God can’t possibly exist. What God would create bad people and allow bad things to happen in the world? Even more so, why would you believe in a God who allows bad things to happen to good people?
I know that it’s more than just the immense tragedies like hurricanes and random air strikes that hurt children hiding out in their homes. It’s also every day pain that you can’t wrap your head around. People will die before their time, there is pain, there is illness, and there is disappointment. But please, my sweet children, don’t lose hope.
I want nothing more than to wrap both of you in a fluffy blanket and hold you forever. I want to shut to our blinds and read you stories about Harry Potter and Fancy Nancy until you are grown. I want to keep you from the horror of this world and wish with all of my heart that it was a better place for you. But being a parent today means trying to prepare you for the reality of the world. I have to try to answer questions that I am still asking myself.
Jesus was honest with us in John 16:33. He told us that we will have suffering in the world. Maybe its punishment for something, maybe it’s to prepare us for a trial we have yet to face. I can never fully answer your questions about why because that would mean putting myself in Gods shoes. But I can tell you what I know. I know that Gods plan for everyone’s life and for this world is so much bigger than I could ever hope to understand. Part of me wonders if I am ever supposed to understand at all. I know that what happens to us here on earth will only be a small part of our soul’s journey. I also know that God doesn’t force bad things to happen.
God gifted us all with free will and people have a choice in how they use it. It’s this free will that is integral to faith. You can use your will to spread love and live a great life, or you can use it to inflict pain on others. God didn’t create evil, we did. The only thing we have even one iota of control over is how we live our own life and where we go in the next.
I know that suffering can make you a stronger person and sometimes even forces a person to live the right kind of life. I know that God will test our faith over and over to bring us closer to him. The only question that really matters when considering the state of the world is what we choose to do when we are confronted with hardships. Do we choose destruction or do we choose God? When you see the real face of the world, don’t let it ruin you. Don’t let the cruelty of others turn you into someone else. Remember those afternoons snuggling at home and how loved you felt, spread that kind of caring wherever you go. It might not make the entire world a better place, but you have the chance to try to make others’ lives happier. Jesus knew that taking care of others was the real key to happiness.
The last thing I know without a doubt is that any hardship we endure here won’t matter when we reach where we are going. That’s not supposed to take away from what happens here on earth. God gave us the ability to feel so much so strongly. But it’s temporary. What’s not temporary is God endless love for us and the truth of his promise. This is just a segway to our eternal life. And God promises that our eternal life will be perfect.
Love,
Mom

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