This is not a typical, light Caffeinated Randomness – I will be back to that next week.  But you WILL learn a thing or two…I promise!  For more CR, click here.

Yesterday I posted about some tough questions Susannah had asked me on Wednesday. Your response was huge.  Thank you, dear friends.

I received some of the most poignant and thorough comments thus far during my short career as a blogging writer.  You all forced me to think about some things that I believe as a parent and sort through some of the tough questions that I myself have as a fervent believer of God.

The following comments came from three of my friends on Facebook (which if you are not my “friend” why aren’t you?) and they have given me permission to publish them here today…

Mary is a friend of mine from the teaching days of, what seems to me now, long ago.  She is articulate, well-read, and a writer herself.  She’s also raising two children in the midwest (another reason why I love her.)  She wrote:

Ben and I have been having lots of God talks lately. Though I went to Catholic school from first grade all the way through college and church six times per week through eighth grade, I still think the most important answer is “I don’t know.” We tell Ben all the time that this is what we’ve chosen to believe (the whole Jesus story), but that billions of other people disagree with us and they can’t all be wrong either. We tell him how lucky he is to live in a country where he can believe what he wants, and that we respect other belief systems, too. We tell him we weren’t there. We just don’t know. We tell him that it’s important to keep learning and keep respecting others’ beliefs, too. That we’re all a part of the same family on Earth. We tell him that someday we’ll know the truth, but not until after we die.

And on the other question, we’ve never been parents to sugar-coat. We tell him there are bad people who want to hurt and kill children. Period. My mom was kidnapped at gunpoint and held hostage coming out of our suburban grocery store with my two youngest siblings in tow back in the ’70’s. Another guy tried to get my little brother to climb into his car in our nice neighborhood when he was six. The freaks are out there. We are giving Ben the info and we are telling him to stay close.

It’s tough, Natalie. All they know is sand and toys and love and safety. Peeling back the ugly corner and telling them a bit of what’s in there sucks. You’ll figure it out with your particular kids. You’ll do what feels right. It’s all any of us CAN do! :-)…

Of course, I could not agree more with Mary’s comment of simply saying “I don’t know” and being good with it.  I am fine with my children seeing my limitations which is good because they see plenty of them on daily basis...Mary’s comment helped me realize that I need to continue this conversation with Susannah so she understands why I don’t want her too far away from home unsupervised.

My friend, Laurie, called me this afternoon to share that she had a great DVD for children called “The Safe Side” by John Walsh, whose son, Adam, went missing in 1981 in a highly publicized abduction,  and Julie Aigner Clark, creator of the “Baby Einstein” video series.

Click here for more information

The next comment was made by the husband of one of my very dearest friends on the planet, Jen.  Jen is in her third year of what I understand to be her internship to be a pastor (I know there is better language for this but I have no idea what it is – so sorry, dear friend!) and will be ordained in about a year.  This woman is phenomenal, friends.  She is the most compassionate, loving, grace-filled teacher of Jesus that I have ever met and I’ve met many.  I love her dearly.  Jeremiah, who I call the “Bullfrog” for obvious reasons, is currently working towards his PhD in Theology at Garrett Theological Seminary (part of Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois) and is also the chaplain for the University of Indianapolis.  Dinner with these two are a total delight for cerebral Christians such as my  husband and me.  We could talk to them for hours – after reading his comment, you will see why.  The Bullfrog blogs here:  please click for some amazing intellectual stimulation.

I think I will leave the second one alone, Nat. But I probably would have taken the gift that she gave you in answering it herself. She is brilliant! :) (this is in referral to the “What do they do when they take you? question)

As for the cancer question: I happen to be one of the scholars who debate this question, so I feel a little bit of an obligation to give the best I can when presented with the problem. Unfortunately for you, I am going to give you the adult version and you have to figure out the mommy version.

First, although God is charge of all creation and sovereign (all powerful) over it, God chooses not to exercise all of God’s power right now. God allows some suffering (what the Bible calls God’s long-suffering/patience/perseverance) to persist in spite of his hatred for it because it is a result of the sin which is the inevitable (because we are not all-wise) result of God giving us choice. God could have created us without the option to choose sin, but that wouldn’t be freedom…another important aspect of being human.

Second, though our sovereign God does not exercise all of God’s power NOW, doesn’t mean God won’t make it all right again. This is the glorious “blessed hope” of Jesus second coming and our bodily resurrection. God is going to make everything right again, including your friend’s cancer. We just don’t know if God will heal your friends cancer now or at the second coming. We pray that the reality of healing which is coming will break into our present reality and bring healing. This will give us assurance that our hoped for healing will indeed also come. It gives witness to God’s coming kingdom when all will be made right in the world. In either case, whether God heals him now or some time in the future, the healing will be so complete for him and his family that the present suffering will be overcome with joy. In the mean time, God weeps with us. And we as the community of the faithful must weep for your friend as God does.

Thirdly, this should not be a satisfying answer for us. We should NEVER be satisfied with anyone’s solution for the problem of evil/suffering. God has promised a better way and we don’t yet see it. This is the power of the lamentations of the Psalms, the prophets, and much of the rest of Scripture. We sometimes scream at God, not for lack of faith, but because our faith is so deep that we believe that God’s word is true and our present circumstances are not what God intended or promised. We lament our friends suffering because God has promised a life of peace which God has yet to deliver. We proclaim from God’s Word back to God that the Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of Peace. Revelation 21 is a beautiful picture of this all being resolved as the City of God leaves its place in some far away heaven and rests in this earth restored to how God intended it. God’s dwelling when no longer be in a temple, but among God’s people. And there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  This is the order we live in, but not what God has promised. I will trust that you can convey that kind of hope to your beautiful “Susannah”, whether now or in due time. For now, I hope this perspective helps.

I had another great comment left by another friend, also named Jen but not The Bullfrog’s wife Jen, but because this post is a little too long already (so sorry for that!) I posted it under the comment section. Please share your thoughts as I love learning from you all.  Thank you so much for the seeds many of you have planted today.

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