A few weeks ago, Heidi was reading a book entitled Easter Surprise to Grace, who will be four in a month. It's a children's book that explains the Easter story to kids. At the conclusion, Heidi said to Grace: "Isn't Jesus good?", a semi-rhetorical response. Grace's response: "I don't like Jesus." Why? "Because he made spiders and bees." What? Why is she questioning this? I feel like I was probably 18 before I put together the connection between the existence of evil and how it affects the concept of the goodness of God. Anyway, after a brief pause to collect herself, Heidi tried to convince her that God was indeed good.
Fast forward to yesterday in the car. Heidi was bringing Grace home from her first day at preschool, and it sounds like something that happened there brought on the same refrain from before: "God isn't good," she said as they were talking. "He made spiders and bees." She really doesn't like spiders and bees.
So Heidi again tried to assure Grace that God is indeed good. "But he made you and me, and we're good. And when things go wrong, he heals us."
"He PEELS US?!?!?!" she replied in horror. "WHY DOES HE PEEL US?!!!!!!"
Heidi quickly reassured her that God does not peel us. "He takes care of us when things are difficult," she said.
Apparently, that worked. When Heidi got home and got her out of the car, Grace had a big smile on her face and said confidently: "Mommy, Jesus is TAGILLION good." (Tagillion being her made up word for "very.")
Today, I was in the car and Heidi asked Grace if she remembered that Jesus was tagillion good. Grace said: "Yeah, remember when I thought God would rip our skin off?"
I can only imagine the image in her little head of God holding us up like a banana and peeling our skin off of us. Hopefully these deep theological struggles won't haunt her her whole life. Maybe she can work through a few of them at three, and take care of it early, you know?