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September 18, 2008

Mosquitos, Preschoolers and Theology

Strapped into her booster seat, my 4-year-old daughter was screaming. "Why did God make mosquitoes?" Jillian cried through her streaked red cheeks. "WHY?!?!?"

Although hours had passed since the mosquito landed on her wrist and had a snack, Jillian was railing. The idea of a bug sucking her blood had sent her into a full-blown tantrum against God -- the first theological battle I had witnessed in her young life. Leave it to my child to tap into one of the toughest struggles of faith: Why does God let bad things happen?

I was stumped for an elegant answer - especially one that my preschool daughter would buy. In my mind, I joined her in the question. "Yeah, why did God create mosquitoes anyway?" All I could immediately credit to them was West Nile virus, malaria and itchiness.

Jillian seemed to have a point.

I mustered my best reply. "I'm not sure, Jilly," I said through the rearview mirror. "But the one thing I know is that God is with us when we're sad and hurt."

My preschooler didn't seem impressed -- and truth be told, it's an answer that I often find myself struggling with, too.

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