I wrote recently about a profound question from my 12-year-old-boy. This post is about my daughter. She’s only eight years old but her mind fastens upon questions much older, ancient questions, questions the great thinkers and theologians have debated. These questions pass through her mind and slip from her mouth, befuddling those around her. Last night she asked another big one, “If God hates sin so much, why didn’t He stop Adam and Eve from sinning?”
Let’s just stop right here. What? You’re eight years old. Don’t you have questions about dolls or bunnies or clouds? Don’t you want to know why the sky is blue or how birds fly? Oh, that’s right, you’ve asked about birds flying, haven’t you? Just the other day you said, “Look at those three birds. They are flying without moving their wings. How do they do that?”
She had seen three vultures circling above. They floated on the wind currents and didn’t flap their wings. So, she asked the question. Is it normal to ask such questions? I don’t know. Her older siblings asked questions as they grew, but I don’t recall them asking the same types of questions.
As bedtime approached, I was working up an answer about why God didn’t stop Adam and Eve from sinning. My mind wrestled with the best explanation to give an eight-year-old (and the best explanation to understand it myself). I lay on my bed as she was in the other room getting into her pajamas. I planned to give her an answer while I tucked her in and prayed with her. But it didn’t happen. The day had been a tiring one for me. My mind was exhausted, my body was spent. As I lay there formulating an answer, my eyes closed, and I fell asleep. When I awoke my daughter, and the rest of the household, were asleep.
I had missed my chance and was angry with myself. In the morning I sat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and watched the sun illuminate the morning sky. And then it struck me. A great truth comforted me. I fell asleep last night but God didn’t. I am weak, but He is strong. I fail as a father, but God never fails. The sun rises each day announcing that God is still on His throne. Even though I didn’t give my daughter an answer, things would still be okay. God wouldn’t fail her – even if I did.
She walked into the kitchen just as those thoughts were in my mind. Rubbing her eyes, hair hanging over her face and waving wildly on top of her head, she came to me and hugged me. And then I took a stab at answering her question.
“Honey, last night you asked about sin and why God didn’t stop Adam and Eve from sinning. This is a difficult thing to understand but I’m glad you are asking such important questions. Here’s one answer that might help.”
I gave her the best answer I could about sin and God and how God’s highest priority is not only to stop sin but to glorify Himself. This happened at the cross where sin was dealt a deadly blow. “Did that answer your question, honey?”
“Yes.” She smiled, then opened the back door and went out to play. The sun shone a little brighter (at least it seemed to) as I took another sip of coffee and thanked God for His goodness.