It had been a beautiful fall day.
Emily Anne was all dressed up in a costume; she loved to dress up.
She spent most of her days dressed as Cinderella.
But this day was different; just about everyone was in costumes.
When she and her cousins, Jean-Anne and Craig, went out of the house, just before dark, Daddy told them that this was Halloween and that they were going “trick or treating.” She had never done that before.
She didn’t know any children yet in this new town, so she was glad to have her cousins with her.
Emily had chosen a cat costume because she loved cats.
She thought this was great fun!
And Craig said that there would be candy, too.
The October sky was just turning dusky dark; everyone was laughing and looking into their candy bags and making great plans for this time of fun.
Daddy was in the lead and was watching for cars as they crossed at the intersection.
Emily Anne already had four pieces of candy.
And then, everything changed!
A car with teenagers in it drove by.
Suddenly Emily felt something hit her head.
Emily Anne was hurt!
Raw egg was running down her face; it was in her long, thick hair.
The place where the egg hit her head was red and sore.
Halloween was over for Emily Anne! No laughing, no fun with her cousins, no candy.
Emily Anne was shocked and hurt, and Daddy tried to comfort her as he held her.
The kids in the car had stopped this little girl’s adventure!
When Daddy and the children arrived home, much earlier than Mommy expected them, she put baby John down and ran to them.
The only thing that Emily Anne could say, over and over again, was “Why would anybody do that?”
Mommy had spent many years learning to be a teacher and thought that she knew lots of answers to children’s questions, but this was something that she could not answer; she could not imagine why big kids would throw raw eggs at little kids!
She would have to think about that question for a long time.
She knew that this was a serious question and that she would need to find an answer for Emily Anne, but now all that she could do was to hold her little girl and cry with her.
A little sadness crept into both of their hearts that night.
And the big questions of why would or could anybody do that kept twirling around in Mommy’s thoughts.
These twirls looked something like this,
“Could people think that we were given a “day off” from being kind to one another?”
“Could people think that it was all right to do bad things one day a year?”
“Could people think that it was all right for children to demand treats from people just because it was Halloween?”
“Could people think that it was all right to hurt animals and children or forget God on one day each year?”
Mommy wondered what God thought about celebrating “bad” things?
Daddy said that God said in the Bible that people would always struggle with good and evil, and Jesus said when people were bad to us, that He wanted us to be good to them.
Emily Anne thought that was too hard.
Mommy thought that what she really wanted to do was to throw rotten eggs at the mean boys in the car.
God understood exactly how both of them felt,
He remembered how He felt when people took a “day off” from being good and killed His Son.
God has a plan for evil.
He wants us to run from evil;
He wants us to run from things that even look evil;
He wants us to hold tight to what is good.
But, if evil comes our way, He says to us that He will turn that evil to good, if we will trust Him.
That’s what God did for Joseph, the boy with the coat of many colors, when he wondered, “Why would anybody do that?” when his brothers sold him to strangers to be a slave.
That’s what God did for His own Son.
When Jesus was crucified.
His friends asked, “Why would anybody do that?”
God turned that evil plan against His Son to good.
God and Jesus agreed to do that hard thing in order to fulfill the plan to win over death and evil.
Mommy and Emily Anne had to talk this plan over for many days.
They decided that God’s plan was better than any they could think up.
They would ask God to forgive them for the bad thoughts that they had toward the egg-throwing boys.
They would ask God to teach them about what it meant to run from evil, and they stopped right then to thank God and Jesus for not taking any days off!
(You can reach Pat Bryson at firstname.lastname@example.org)