Only a preschooler can simplify the question of suffering into a three word sentence and make it sound like the most amazing, breaking news event.
A few days ago after correcting a little guy about hitting his friends, we talked a few minutes and then off he went to play. Happily and without a care he went back to doing his thing. But later, I was a witness, when I saw this same boy lean across the table and tell another friend, very loudly, and with great emphasis, “Hey Tommy, did you know, GOD DOESN’T HIT?”
I have wondered about that, a lot. A LOT. But what keeps rattling around in my mind is a confusing thought…doesn’t everyone know that God doesn’t hit? Yes, I did tell the boy that God doesn’t hit. But I didn’t think it was the most profound comment. I certainly wasn’t trying to make a grand theological statement to a 4 yr old Evidently it spoke to him, and his emphasis on that one little piece of our talk made me ask myself, do kids or even parents think that God “hits” them? Do WE believe that God is dealing out pain and retribution every time something horrible happens in our life? Let’s get real personal, do I think that when I don’t get my way, God is punishing me and I should strike back? Do we think God is like us???? Do I think God is like ME?
Unfortunately, in the world there are always a few kids that hit others or bite others or push…adults usually try to intervene quickly and in most cases the behavior disappears thru consistent discipline and time. Preschoolers love their friends before and after they hit! It’s real world experiences, even at church. But do we, the church, think, even a little, that God is lashing out at us in our daily life? That his wrath and anger are striking out at us, much like a preschooler would hit his friend in anger. And then do we believe that God is loving and kind and plays with us again, until He gets mad? A cycle of love then anger?
Does God hit His friends?
What we as parents believe about God, we communicate to our children. We should KNOW and BELIEVE that God doesn’t “hit” us. When tragedy or conflict or a problem arises, are we showing our kids that God is faithful and sovereign? or are we showing them through our words and actions that God is out to get us? The consistent character of God is the foundation for little children. Adults are moody and changeable. God is not.
As Job desperately seeks the reason for his suffering, at the point of his greatest despair, he remembers and reminds himself and others that, no matter; “Though he slay me, I will hope in Him” and boldly he says, “For I know that my Redeemer lives.”