A 2-Year-Old Perspective Helps Us Understand Suffering

A 2-Year-Old Perspective Helps Us Understand Suffering April 21, 2015

Our perspective on pain and suffering is too small. If you asked my 2-year-old son and my 1-year-old daughter if I was a good dad, they might have told you ‘no’ this week. Monday we put a chain lock on our front door because our 2-year-old has figured out how to unlock the front door and escape like a lifer on a prison break. Now he can’t. When he first tried to open the door and realized he couldn’t, he gave me that look like I’m the worst dad in the world. From his small perspective, he can’t understand why he shouldn’t be able to wander the neighborhood on his own and play in the street. His perspective is too small.


Last Wednesday I took my daughter Elle to the doctor’s office because she was sick. She had to get a shot while she was there. In that moment, when the needle punctured her skin and I was holding her down, she gave me a look that would just melt your heart. She absolutely couldn’t understand why I would be so mean and cruel to allow the nurse to puncture her body with a needle. She couldn’t understand that I was doing it for her good, to protect her from getting worse and having to go to the hospital. She couldn’t understand that. She just had to trust me that I knew what I was doing.

In Isaiah 55:9, here’s what the Bible says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways  and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Compared to God’s infinite wisdom and knowledge, we’re the 2-year-old failing to understand why there’s a new lock on the door. We’re the 1-year-old who can’t understand why she just got a shot. Our perspectives are too small compared to God’s.

That’s how we can begin to handle the problem of pain and suffering in the world. We can’t understand it all. We can’t just explain it away. We have to trust that there is a reason, beyond our ability to understand. And we have to trust that God knows what He’s doing.

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