Tough Question Monday: Why Does Bad Stuff Happen?

My daughters think Adam and Eve were the dumbest people ever to walk the planet. They had it all. Life truly was perfect, and they threw it all away for an apple. The apple couldn't have been that good.

With one bite of an apple, they changed the world they would live in and the one we get to live in. My younger daughter likes to blame Adam and Eve when bad things happen in her world.

She's not too far off -- although there's plenty of blame to go around. One of the most common questions for kids to ask is "Why does God let bad stuff happen?" And that's a tough one. It seems like if God loves us as much as He says He does, He would protect us from all the bad stuff in the world. Tragedy would never touch our lives.

But that's not how it works. When Adam and Eve chose to take that apple from the serpent and take a bite, sin entered the world. When it did, it brought big consequences. We're still living with those consequences today.

Our kids are right when they ask questions about bad things happening. God could protect us from it. He's big enough. He's powerful enough. He could protect us from the bad stuff in the world, and I'm convinced that sometimes He does. However, the condition of our world, the bad things that happen are all a natural consequence of sin -- of choosing selfish ambitions instead of God's ambitions. While God forgives our sins, He doesn't always protect us from the earthly consequences of that sin. If He did, then we would never be able to recognize our need for a savior.

Bad things happen -- people get sick, people hurt each other, people die -- because that is the natural consequence of sin in the world, sin that goes all the way back to that first bite of the apple. When our kids ask why bad things happen, our answer simply needs to be that sin causes all of it, which is why we need Jesus. While following Jesus doesn't protect us from every bad thing in the world, it always gives us an assurance that it will all turn out right in the end. We know the end of the story, and we know that God triumphs over evil and sin. No matter what things happen to us in this life, we have the assurance that we will spend eternity with God.

As much as we would like to, we can't shelter our kids from bad things that happen. We can't put them in a bubble. We can't guarantee that following Jesus will keep their lives free of tragedy. What we can do is offer our kids the hope that God is in control. Look at Job, God knew every horrible thing that happened to Job. And in the end, He blessed Job more than He could imagine. Job 42:10 says, "After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before." On the other side of the storm was a rainbow. No matter what happens to us, God knows about it, and He is always there to offer comfort and strength.

So, when your kids ask why bad things happen, explain to them that it's all about sin. Then remind them that God has saved us from the eternal consequences of that sin even if we still have to live with the earthly ones.