Responding to Children’s Questions on G-d’s Justice
Reader: My son asked me, "Why doesn't G-d doesn't listen to me when I ask Him to stop the rain, so I can play outside?" How would you answer such a question, from a 6 year old boy?
Mesora: Evidently, your child feels persecuted (not in the severe sense) in that his prayer to G-d went unanswered. “Why doesn’t G-d answer me?” expresses his feeling of being ignored or unimportant. This also carries with it a feeling of persecution, as he feels ‘he alone’ is unanswered. He knows of no other person whose request went unanswered, so he feels persecuted.
I would respond as follows: “Even adults ask G-d for things, and G-d does not give it to them. (This helps to remove the persecution emotion.) This is not because G-d is not listening - He always is, but He knows whether what we ask for, is really “good” for us. For example, I may ask a doctor for one medicine that tastes good, but he doesn't give it to me. This is because he knows that even though I want it, the doctor knows it is not good for me. Just like a smart doctor, G-d also knows if what we ask for is good. So even if we want it, it may not be the best thing. And sometimes, even if something is good for us, it may not be good for others, so G-d has to make a decision if what we ask, is going to hurt someone else.
Rain makes everything grow, so we need it so the trees will give us food to eat. If the rain stops, it may be good for me so I can play outside, but it is not good for other people who are hungry.
We have to know that G-d always hears us. He made each one of us, so He knows everything. And even if He doesn't give us what we want, it is not because He doesn't love us. G-d loves everybody. So G-d wants everybody to be happy. We all need food to be happy, so G-d may not stop the rain, so this way, other people can eat. Soon it will stop anyway, so you can play outside. But if G-d makes the rain continue, other people will also be happy. So we should be happy that other people eat, even if it means we have to wait to play.
So we should remember:
1) G-d hears everyone's prayers.
2) G-d sometimes doesn't even give adults what they ask for if it is not good for them.
3) When G-d doesn’t give us what we ask for, it is for a good reason, and we have to think what that good reason is. We have to ask how it will be bad if we have this thing.
4) By not getting what we ask from G-d, is the way that G-d teaches us that we are not asking for something that is best. This is how G-d works.
5) We have to think about why G-d feels what we want, is not the best thing. This means, G-d wants us to use our mind and think about a better thing to ask for.
6) When we figure out why what we want is not so good, the next time we ask for something, we will ask a better thing. G-d wants us to get smarter, so we ask for what is best for us.
We learn from this that G-d wants us all to think, and always try to learn how to make our wishes into better wishes. This way, we become better, by learning what G-d wants for us, not what we want.”