DEAR ABBY: I was bothered by the following, which I recently read in your column: "Confidential to Grieving in Arizona: My heart goes out to you. `I can think of nothing more unnatural, nothing that leaves God with more explaining to do, than the loss of a child.' (Jean Harris)"

Abby, what right do we mortals have to demand an explanation from God?I offer the following from your column in which you respond to a similar situation. It was published 12 years ago, and I think it's much better than the quote by Jean Harris:

"DEAR ABBY: My Sunday school teacher says that God is everywhere. Please put this letter in the paper and maybe he will see it. Dear God: Why did you let my brother die? When he was hit by the car, my mother prayed to you to let him live but you wouldn't. My little brother was only 2 years old, and he couldn't have sinned so bad that you had to punish him that way. Everyone says you are good and can do anything you want to do. You could have saved my little brother, but you let him die. You broke my mother's heart. How can I love you? - PETER"

"DEAR PETER: Your question is one that has troubled religious men for thousands of years. One great thinker wrote a book about it. It is called `Job' and is part of the Bible. It says that the suffering of innocent people is something we cannot understand. But this much is sure: Death is not a punishment. It is one of life's mysteries. Speak to your minister, Peter. Communicate with God by praying, and he will help you in your search for wisdom and goodness and make your mommy happy again."

Abby, I saved that because it was such a beautiful and sensitive answer to that young boy who was hurting. Trust your instincts and continue in that way to use your faith. You are so widely read, and your influence so great, that I believe you can make a difference in our country. In essence, yours is a real ministry. God bless you. I'll sign my name, but if you use this, sign me . . . FEAR OF THE LORD, OIL CITY, PA.

DEAR ABBY: We tell our little ones not to talk to strangers and not to take candy from strangers. But how many of us explain to them what a stranger is?

I asked my little 5-year-old neighbor what she thought strangers look like, and she said, "They wear a mask, and grab you like they do on television!"

Another child I know invited a man to come into the house while her mother was in the shower. Fortunately, he did not accept the invitation. When her mother got after her about it, she said she knew the man was OK because "the man had a clipboard in his hands." - JEANETTE HANNA, UNION CITY, MICH.

DEAR JEANETTE: By definition, a "stranger" is a person who is unknown or with whom one is unacquainted.

It's sufficient to instruct children never to talk to people they do not know. And to accept no candy or rides from anyone without first obtaining permission from their parent or caretaker.

To get Abby's booklet's "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada), to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)