Their names are Jeremy and Jesse. This particular time we were eating ice cream on a hot summer day. It was a special treat, and they were enjoying it thoroughly.
Suddenly, Jeremy scrunched up his little five-year-old face and started pounding his forehead with the palm of his hand. “Jeremy, what are you doing?” I wanted to know. “I’ve got brain freeze!” he wailed.
It was obvious that he had experienced brain freeze before, since he knew exactly how to identify it. I smiled on the inside, and jumped up to pour him a glass of water hoping that it would ease the freeze. Then he asked me a question that stumped me. “Why did God make brain freeze when it hurts so bad?” “Well, ummmm…well,” I stammered in response.
How on earth do you explain the problem of pain and suffering to a five-year-old? Do you go back to the Garden of Eden and explain how perfect things were before Adam and Eve took a bite out of forbidden fruit? (You don’t dare identify it as an apple when you’re talking to a five-year-old, or he might never eat another one again.)
And if you start your answer with an explanation of Adam and Eve in the perfect paradise, then the next time your grandchild comes over, he’s going to want you to take him to the Garden of Eden to play. And he’s going to want to know, “Is it kind of like Disney World?”
And when you explain that it didn’t have any rides or pirate shows, he’ll wonder why on earth God wasted his time building it and why wasn’t there a pirate ship there? I realized that I could try a different approach to explain how only Gods knows why but all my possible answers were triggering red flags.
Then as I sat there stumped, I realized that Jeremy wasn’t the only one with brain freeze. I was suffering a terrible case of it myself! Even though I had answered this question many times throughout the years. I couldn’t come up with an appropriate explanation for a five-year old to save my life!
Then he said or we can wait until my mom comes home and ask her cause she knows everything. I said, that’s a great idea Jeremy!
He finished scraping the bottom of his dessert dish, took one last sip of water, and jumped down from his seat. He ran to play cars with his brother, his brain was sufficiently thawed and so was mine.
Apparently, it seems the best answers are the simple ones. By the time his mom came home we forgot all about the brain freeze.