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It was our first spring in the country. The uncut grasses around the edge of our small acreage pond were overcrowded with little brown and green buggy-eyed frogs. Surely even the most determined of parents must have a limit as to the number of requests they can fend off for a pet frog.
Finally, after numerous talks about the unnatural state of “frog-in-jar”, and lectures on amphibian nutrition, we succumbed – with a time limit of two days put on the lucky little frog that had been selected for purposes of captivity and adoration.
In a burst of originality the children named him “Mr. Frog”. A frog home was designed in the bottom of a large jar, complete with pond grasses, a specially chosen rock and the perfect amount of water. A crayon sign taped to the outside of the jar read “The Amasing Mr. Frog”. Never was a frog better loved than this little creature – rescued from his murky home in the pond.
For a day and a half the frog was proudly exhibited to any interested (or otherwise) visitor, his toes counted and recounted. It was even heralded that he had done tricks – for a select audience comprised of “people who did not make him feel nervous”, namely the five-year-old.
Maybe the holes in the lid of the jar were too small. Maybe frogs don’t eat dead flies after all. There might not have been enough grass or perhaps not enough moisture; maybe too much? Whatever the cause, by nightfall the frog lay still. Dead.
“Why? Why did God let Mr. Frog die?” the five-year-old wept and wept.
I was torn for a second. Part of me – the pratical, the let’s-not-get-dramatic-over-a-frog part of me, wanted to minimize the event, keep the trauma in perspective. Another part of me saw my child grieving.
This wasn’t about frogs. It was about death. And life. And injustice. This five-year-old’s cry of “Why?” was rooted in the same pain and confusion my neighbour agonized with when her father died.
My explanation – “death is just a part of life” – was halfway out before I realized it was a lie. Death is not part of life.
I thought back to the story of creation. The first few chapters in the Bible give us a wonderful record of God lovingly creating life. I felt awe at the great risk God was willing to take in order to have His children return His love. He could so easily have created Adam and Eve with a built-in obligation to love Him. But He didn’t.
We read of a God who wanted a relationship of mutual love, more than guaranteed return. A God unwilling to settle for mediocrity.
He gave Adam and Eve a choice. I can’t begin to imagine His grief, His sadness, when they chose sin. They introduced sin into the perfect world He had created. A world full of life.
With sin came death.
Death. A taste of Satan’s ways. Death, suffering, pain, hunger. These things had no place in God’s perfect creation.
God, out of love, gave us a democracy. Two parties. God. The Opposition. Each one of us casts our vote. Votes who will be in charge of our life. One vote at a time, humanity has not voted for God to rule His world.
People blame God for suffering. I began to see what a distortion this is. God didn’t put suffering in the world!
And yet, the age-old question, if He’s all-powerful and loving, why doesn’t He step in and fix it? Why doesn’t He arrest third world hunger? Why are innocent people, innocent children left to suffer all around the globe? Why doesn’t He wipe out all the bad stuff and give us a fresh start? Reverse it all?
Then I remembered. He did once.
In Noah’s day. The ark. The flood. Did I really want God to wipe out the world each time it became a mess? Over and over? Didn’t the flood show us that there can be no true change to the world, to the human race, without change to the heart of the individual?
I began to understand that God had provided a way to “step in and fix things”.
One person at a time.
He, Perfect God, stepped into our damaged world in the form of a baby; grew to be a man. He came and lived in the intended-to-be-beautiful world He’d created, by then corrupted by thousands of years of sin. He immersed Himself not only in that messy world, but He went through the death His created people had voted in.
Then, because He is God, He snapped death’s power, its hold on the human race. He rose from the dead. God reached down through the corruption and broke Satan’s death grip on the human race.
Small sobs pulled me back from my trail of discovery. “Mom,” she sniffed, “Why did God let Mr. Frog die?”
“Well,” I reflected, trying to turn my thoughts into language suited to a five-year-old, “Well, sweetie, we live in a world where lots of people don’t want to choose in their hearts to go God’s way. That leaves Satan in charge of our world for now. Death and hurt and pain are what Satan brings.
‘Everyone gets to choose, though. One day will let all the people who choose Him be together. He’ll be an amazing king, and there will be only good in His kingdom, just like we want it. For now, we can let Him be King in our hearts.”
“No third world hunger,” I thought, with a sigh. No innocent children trudging across borders to the sound of guns. No hatred. No violence. No death. No injustice.”
“In heaven, sweetie, if God gives you a frog, it won’t die.”
And then, in that ceaseless way of questioning that five-year-olds possess… “Mom?”
“How big would that frog get?”
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Allan Mitchell Angel Aspden Anna Page Bruce Walker Carrielynn Lund Deb Lowrie Deborah Lantier Donna Mitchell Dr Cath Thorlakson Dr Ian King Emily Lecerf Emmie Stanley Jamal Kimbanga Kathy Flett L Falk Lucas Burton Margaret Johnston Mary Lou Ng Mountainside Community Church Fernie BC Nils Reuter Phil & Lorraine Taylor Phillip Telfer Rod Bergen Sandy Tower Shelly Banai Tara Penner Wendy Sumner
TRAINER: L Falk – staff, Edmonton
SOURCE: Recorded for Volunteer Training
POSTED: Oct 2016