“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
She's turned into a little girl, my 7 of 8. Her toddler years are completed and her preschool days are almost done. She is chatty, bright, loves a turn of phrase.
And always asks questions.
Always pondering. Always thinking.
She wanders into my office the other day as I am preparing notes for an upcoming teaching. She snuggles up close to me, surveying the wreck that is the surface of my desk, idly picking up a broken crayon, fingering a roll of tape, trying on my reading glasses.
"Mom," she says, trying to extend her left arm to reach a paper clip, "Mom, who gave me my stroke? Was it an evil god?"
She's almost five.
I'm not prepared to have such a deep theological discussion with an almost five year old.
My mind goes racing to different escape routes, quickly turning over and rejecting any number of platitudes and trite answers. Spot a quotable rock, turn it over. Move on.
"Well," I stammer, "I don't think it was an evil god. The only God I know is good and He loves you."
Her enormous green~gray eyes hold mine.
"So did God give me my stroke?"
I'm floundering again, scrambling for the softest bit of substance from which to craft a response. I want her to know that God is powerful. I want her to know that she is in His keeping and care. I want her to know that He has created her exactly as she is to be. I don't want her to think there is a vestige of evil bound up in the left side of her body, the side weakened and constricted by a stroke.
But she needs to know there is an enemy out there. One who seeks to snatch joy from us. And that somehow, the sovereignty of God and the twisted machinations of the accuser have long engaged in a disturbing dance of destiny and design, the borders of which still confound me. Does she need to know all that today? Is the interplay of good and evil, eternity and falleness, is it the right response to a child a few weeks shy of her fifth birthday? What does she need to hear me say?
"God loves me," she says, breaking my cacophonous thoughts. "He loves all of us!" She smiles at her insight and stretches her tight left arm again. She skips out to the kitchen, in search of her princess cup full of water.
And I stay at my desk. Conflicted. Singing my song of Why over this darling of a child. Thumbing through oft-rehearsed lyrics of What Does This Mean and Can't You Just Heal Her.
In the kitchen, she's humming. Today, knowing God loves her is enough.
Maybe it should be for me, too.