How to Talk to Your Kids About Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

By Jessica Wolstenholm

Whenever we face adversity on any level, our question is usually, “Why would a loving God allow bad things to happen to innocent people?” Our kids must also struggle with this question, especially in today’s world, where the very existence of God is outwardly doubted.

So why would God allow His people to hurt when He could easily take all the hurt in this world away?

I guess one way to approach this topic, is to remember that God has given us a choice to love Him. It’s a big deal, really. For a lot of us who grew up as believers, maybe we forget what a big deal this free-will thing actually is. We’ve never questioned the existence of God and have lived our lives as Christ followers. The thing is, when we choose to give our lives to God, the world around us is still making their own choices to love and serve Him or choose to NOT love and serve Him. And there are quite a few who have made the choice to disbelieve we have a loving God, who desires a relationship with each and every one of us. Sad, but true.

The Bible tells us that in the beginning, God created the world in all perfection. But man accepted sin to enter into this perfect place. Where there is sin, there will always be consequences. Since we live in this sinful world, we too have to face the consequences .

When we talk to our younger kids about the fact that bad things DO happen to all of us, explaining God’s providence is kind of tough, and it’s something that most of us have to simplify by saying something to the effect of, I don’t know what God’s plan in this (painful situation) is, but one day all will be known. This isn’t a brush off. This is powerful truth. Perhaps not as comforting to a child who lives in the here and now, though.

So what CAN we tell our kids to comfort them in times of suffering?

We can tell them, without doubt, that God promises to bring good out of all things (even the bad stuff) for those who love Him and trust Him.

(Romans 8:28) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose.

What this DOESN’T mean is that if we entrust our lives to God, we WON’T suffer. Jesus told us so.

(John 16:33) “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

This week out nation has faced another terrorist attack. In this attack, three innocent people have lost their lives. One of those innocents, was an 8 year old boy. My own son, who is almost 15 was angry about this death! “Why him? He didn’t deserve this!”

While he’s right, this child did not deserve this, from a Godly perspective that child’s life is not truly lost– but restored through God in Heaven. As for the parents who are without question, suffering more than any of us can imagine, God is there for them during this time. He is there to sustain them through their pain, with His strength and His comfort–even in the face of the evil one.

As our children get older and are ready to hear “meatier” truths, the other thing we can add is that ALL MORAL AUTHORITY rests in God. His providence, His plan, His timing; while we may disagree with God, that disagreement is merely like hitting our head against a wall. He is God…period. That can be a tough truth to swallow when we’re so used to living in a world that tells us, subjectively, what’s right for me may not be right for you. No matter how grand we think we may be, God is still God, and there is no one above Him. But even in His greatness, He loves us and really wants us to choose to love Him and know He does all things, and allows all things to come together for His perfect purpose.

Lisa Strnad is an independent contractor in Christian media as a writer, marketing consultant, and public relations specialist. She speaks to Christian women’s groups on the issues of motherhood, home schooling and raising a child with special needs. Lisa and her family make their home in Nashville.