On the way home from church last Sunday, I was suffering from a massive headache. Cady decided it was time she understood the nature of headaches and other suffering in the world. Yep, she initiated a little theodicy talk.
Cady: Daddy, does God make headaches and neckaches and stomachaches?
Daddy: No, God doesn't make headaches and neckaches and stomachaches, but God definitely does allow those things to happen.
Cady: Who *does* make stomachaches?
Daddy: Nobody, really. Sometimes our bodies don't work the way we want them to, and that means we have tummyaches or other kinds of aches.
Cady: But why don't our bodies work? [Here she goes down the path of why until Daddy has to explain the molecular structure of the universe. Kidding, of course, but that's how it seems sometimes.]
The conversation was longer than this...lots of whys and but whys, but I think you get the point. Bless it. How does one explain to a 3 year-old the difference between God causing something and God allowing it? I confess that sometimes I wish we believed in easy answers. Or, at least more concrete ones. But, I pray that being honest with C now about the intricacies of faith will pay off in the long run.
*Postscript: The conversation above is an approximation of the conversation that took place last Sunday. I, nor Chad, claim to remember verbatim all of the things our child says try as we might. However, I did ask him to help me remember it. Okay, Mandy moment of qualification over.