Earlier this week we were having a typical busy night of homework, dinner, and after-school activities when Peter says the following to me: “I understand that Jesus died for our sins so that we can have eternal life. But, why did God allow his Son to suffer so much?” I stopped in my after dinner cleanup chores, shook my head, and said, “What?” “Why did Jesus have to suffer?” He said again.
I was speechless. Peter has been asking a lot about heaven, which is not surprising since he just lost his cousin. Losing a loved one certainly makes us all question our beliefs. But, “Why do people suffer?” “Why would a parent (the almighty God) watch his child suffer?” Those are some pretty heavy thoughts for an eleven-year old.
Well, I said, let’s go look in some books. Peter and I both have the bookworm gene, so this next step was predictable. The two of us were noses buried in various Bibles and theology books for some time. We also did some research on the Internet. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find an explanation that satisfied either of us. If anything, I think we both had more questions! Finally, I said (feeling a headache come on), “Why don’t you go play a video game, and we can ask your Dad when he gets home!” Whew, I thought. This is way too deep of a conversation for 8:00 on a Wednesday night.
Belief is a challenging topic for parents, especially ones with medically-involved children who endure countless trials. I plan to continue this conversation with Peter since, as he said the next day, “Yeah Mom, you were pretty clueless.” I suppose that’s true, but, hey, he caught me off guard! I’m guessing that Peter will someday enlighten me with a far better answer than what we could find in a book or on the computer. In the meantime, I’ll continue praying for guidance and wisdom on how to raise such a thoughtful and challenging son.