Monday, April 15, 2013

Why do bad things happen to good people, Granny answers

A rat can be a bad thing, but sometimes it does good
"Granny, granny, are you watching television?"  I put down my knitting and looked up, and there was little Teddy with tears running down his face, scared looking.  Something told me this was important cause my Teddy doesn't come running like that and with that way of looking that said to me something bad had happened.

"You turn it on, my child, "I said to him, "You know where the buttons are, and sometimes these old eyes don't work so good."  But my heart was working, knowing that thing that's bad was probably making lots of people worry.

Then I saw those pictures and took Teddy on my lap.  He's only six and not too big to sit on my lap, but he sometimes says he is.  But today, he's just that little child again, with his head on my shoulder and the tears just running down his cheeks.

It was a bomb, the television said.  Things happen sometimes a surprise, but these babies they don't understand, and even us grownups don't either.  So I knows that even Teddy's mama is trying to figure out how to explain to Teddy why bad things happen to his friends and to good people.

So I says to Teddy, what I want all my babies to know right now and as long as they are living, cause bad things do happen.  That's the way life is.  And they happen sometimes as a surprise, and we don't understand.  Even Granny, she don't always understand, but it's the time to give a hug to someone, just to remind us that there are good things too that make us smile, even as bad things make us cry.

"Sometimes there is things we don't understand and sometimes we won't ever.  Cause people they is different.  They can do things that hurt themselves or other people.  Maybe they is angry.  Maybe they been hurt too much, but it don't excuse them either.  What we can do is know that sometimes after something bad happens, something good can come along.  We learn from one another, and sometimes it's the hurting that also helps us grow, even though we can't know it right now. "

Teddy looks at me with wide eyes.  He doesn't understand a bombing in Boston anymore than he understands the death of a bird outside that falls to the ground after flying high.  And even a rat can be good or bad, so people do bad things and may do good things too.  And others just do mostly bad.  So I says to him, "That question you ask is something lots of people wonder about.  Asking the question helps us look for answers to pain and hurt and things like that.  Even getting hurt, falling down and scratching your knee, well that is pain, and you would think it's just bad.  But if you didn't feel that pain, maybe you would jump off the roof of your house and really hurt yourself.  You don't cause you learn it could really be bad."

And that question,  it helps us take care of people better, just the asking, and taking care of ourselves better too.  So you keep asking cause maybe one day you will be the one who stops the hurting of lots of people by doing something good."

I don't know what Teddy really understands, but children they look for answers when they has questions.  Granny hopes he always asks the question, so he grows up and finds the answers for himself.


  1. You have to tell the children as well as ourselves to look for the helpers. The ones that the children see on television trying to help in situations like this. We tend to only look at the horror unfolding but most of the scene is really people trying to help.

  2. This is a question that millions have asked over the ages, and it reveals an innate sense of justice in all men. We all know it is not fair for good people to suffer for things they didn't do.

    There have been many attempts to answer this question, but the one I have found most satisfying by far is the one found in the Bible (even children can understand). It could be explained in detail, but in short:

    1) Satan the devil is the real ruler of this world (1 John 5:19). He is cruel and enjoys it when people suffer, and the world under his influence reflects those same traits.

    2) We humans are imperfect (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12). The sins of others can affect us (for example, a man deciding to commit adultery brings pain to his wife and children, especially if the family later breaks apart). Also, the sin in us makes us greedy, leading to people fighting for domination and power and this causes pain and suffering to innocent people (think of the women and children who die in war-torn countries). Not forgetting, our own sinful inclination causes us to make wrong decisions that affect us later (example, a thief ends up rotting in jail).

    3. There are certain things that happen due to "chance"- being in the wrong place at the wrong time (Ecclesiastes 9:11). A man driving a truck hits a pothole, and without him realising, this loosens the wheel. Many kilometres later, as he is cruising down the road (within the speed limits), the wheel suddenly comes off and due to the laws of physics, rolls off ahead at a much higher speed than the truck is moving at, flies off the road and hits a woman walking along the road, and she dies on the spot. Who is to blame? The woman was unfortunate to have been at that spot at the time that wheel came off. In a world without God as a protective ruler, such tragedies can happen to anyone, good or bad.

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