Why would a loving % holy God allow a child to suffer?
Katie we usually associate the love of God with the benefits we receive from him and the blessings that come from his kind and merciful hand. Because His love usually manifests itself in good things that happen to us, we sometimes fall back in shock and dismay when we see a child struck by disease or some other trauma.
Before we look at the question of why God allows children to suffer, we need to ask the bigger question: Why does God allow suffering to happen to any person, whether he’s two years old, two months old, or twenty years old? The Scriptures tell us that suffering came into the world as a consequence of the fall of man and of creation; that is to say, it is because of sin that God has brought judgment upon this planet. That includes the curses of pain, disease, sorrow, and death that forms part of the consequences of wickedness.How could a loving and holy God allow a baby to suffer a debilitating disease? Katie I think the answer is partly contained in that very question. God is holy, and in his holiness he exercises judgment against the wickedness that prevail in human nature. When we ask the question with respect to infants, sometimes lurking behind that question is the unspoken assumption that babies are innocent. Virtually every church in the history of Christendom has had to develop some concept of what we call original sin because the Scriptures teach us very clearly that we are born in a sinful state and that the curse of the Fallaffects every human life. Katie I know that sounds grim and dreadful until we realize that in that judgment on fallen humanity comes also the tempering of God’s wrath with mercy and grace and his complete work of redemption. We believe with great joyous anticipation that there is a special measure of grace God has reserved for those little ones who die in infancy. Jesus said in Matthew 19:1414 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children..”
But we dare not jump to the conclusion that an individual person’s particular disease or affliction is a direct result of some particular sin. That may not be the case at all. As humans, all of us must participate in the broad complex of the fallen state of our humanity, which includes the tragedy of disease.
Let’s turn to the Bible for our help. Just to give you a little background Katie, we are reading about the events that surrounded the birth of Jesus. It is part of the Christmas story that we never hear at Christmas.The three wise men have been asked by the King at that time to find the Christ child, and report back his whereabouts. The King’s plan was to go and kill the infant king, and keep the family throne. Well, the three wise men were warned in a dream to return home secretly, without reporting to King Herod. Now, let’s hear what Matthew writes:
Matthew 2:16-18 16 Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. 17 Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:18 “A cry was heard in Ramah—weeping and great mourning.Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.”
Recently, a pastor was asked to pray for a 5-year-old little girl, she was dying of cancer. About five days later and continuous prayer by many people , the doctors reported that the cancer had disappeared. Seven days later, her lungs failed and she died.
The question was asked, why did God let her die, even after her miraculous healing?
The same question could have been asked of the Bible in Matthew 2:16, why did so many innocent children have to die in Bethlehem for Jesus to be born. It becomes clear from what we read, that God knew about it, because it was to fulfill what God said in the Old Testament 600 some years prior to that through the prophet Jeremiah. Yet, the hundreds of mothers were like Rachel weeping inconsolably “refusing to be comforted, for they are dead..”
“Why God?, Why?, is our cry.”
The first step in answering the question “why” is to examine the question we ask–“Why?” Are we really searching for wisdom into the intricacies of God’s will and plan? Are we really seeking knowledge of God’s will or the nature of the universe? And, if we received an answer from God to that question “Why God”
Would we even understand it?
Would we be satisfied and carry on with our lives?
Would we be like the Bible says, like “Rachel weeping inconsolably because they are dead?” Or would it confuse us even more ?
Job asks the question why he had to suffer the loss of his family, children, and health. God does answer, but Job cannot bear the answer. He is too small and God is too big! God speaks to him out of the whirlwind, Job 40:1-5 And the LORD said to Job: 2 “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”3 Then Job replied to the Lord,4 “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand.5 I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.”
Again inJob 42:2-3Job talks to God, 2 “I know that you can do anything,and no one can stop you.3 You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,things far too wonderful for me.
The Bible tells us that we could not understand the answer, even if we received it!
Add to that, even if we could understand it, it would not help in our grief because they [those we lost] are no more.
The answer to the question why would God do nothing to take away the sorrow and pain from the loss of our children.Our cry why, is not to increase our divine knowledge but to take away the pain of our grief. In reality we are not asking why after all. We are just using the word “Why” to cry out, “God take away the pain of my grief.” “God it hurts so much to lose this child I loved so much.” “God I hurt!” “Help me in my grief.”
It is at this point that God offers us the answer to our true cry. We stand at a turning point. Jesus Christ invites us to . . . Matthew 11:28-3028 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”God’s loving hand in Jesus Christ is saying “Come to me” and I will answer your true question, how can the pain go away.
Jesus said, Matthew 5:4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”Jesus says“If you turn to me in your pain and bitterness I will send my Holy Spirit, the comforter to console you and help you understand that I love you, and I know your pain. You are not alone and I will bless you in your pain and grief with a deeper understanding and experience of my divine love”.
Katie, it is at this point that we have to make a decision! Do I turn to the love of God in Jesus Christ in my grief or to the bitterness of a cruel world that has little meaning in life except more pain and loss? If you choose the bitterness of the world, your question “why” will never be answered, and your grief will always remain in some form or another — bitterness, anger, depression, you’ll remain lost, and without hope.
If you turn to Jesus and offer him your true cry of pain, you will hear the voice of God’s spirit speaking to your spirit;And God says “I had a child too. He too was innocent. There was no sin in him. His name was Jesus and he died a terrible death at the hands of evil men. I even knew about it long before it happened. Yet, I allowed it to happen. Yes, I even caused it to happen because I love you so much, that I would lose my innocent child too, so that I could answer your cries and prayers to make it stop hurting.”
He Jesus is alive today, and he is calling you to come to Him in your sorrow and grief and He will give you rest for your soul. You will even be blessed by his comfort. Jesus keeps his promises, and he promised, “blessed are those who mourn for they shall find comfort.”
You see Katie, God does answer our question, “why do children have to die?” if we understand the true nature of our cry. He does take away our sorrow and tears and heals our broken heart. He does it because he loves us, and he lost his innocent child too. He knew about it ahead of time and did it anyway, for us.
Just like innocent children of Bethlehem, God told us , his son would die for us and heal our broken hearts.
Isaiah 53:4-5 4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down.And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,a punishment for his own sins!5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,crushed for our sins.He was beaten so we could be whole.He was whipped so we could be healed.Katie,Jesus knows the broken hearted? And everyone that asks why when they really cry out in pain
The answer to that question and to the cry is Jesus Christ. And then He asks everyonewho cries “Why”this question “Do you know me?Did you know Me once? Come to him now . . . and be healed!
Then the innocent child, who died, will not have died in vain. Because that someone turned to Jesus Christ as his or her healer and savior in their grief and confusion, and he healed them, but more important is that they have come to know the love of God in a much deeper way. Like Jesus, another innocent child died, so someone might find the love and healing of a Savior.
And then that person can pray this prayer.
Lord, forgive me for crying against you in my pain, hear my true cry and come into my heart to save me, and heal me. Come in Lord Jesus!
Thank you, God, for my healing, and for the gift of eternal life. Amen.
And then that person will be able to say together with the great Apostle Paul:
Romans 5:1-55 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peacewith God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
And then you can say two things to that personGod Bless you, God loves you, and I love you, but its Gods love that counts!Katie one reassuring thought is this I believe that infants who die go to heaven?
I believe it not because of a sentimental notion that babies aren’t participants in the Fall. They are. Babies are participants in original sin.
The question is whether God has a way to cover their sin even before they have a chance to believe. Babies are not mentally able to put faith in Jesus yet, at least not in any terms that we ordinarily understand. And so I think that God provides another way to cover their sin.I base my belief that God does not condemn babies who die on Romans 1:19-20:
19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.The “So” at the end of verse 20 says that mankind would seem to have an excuse if they had not seen clearly in nature what God is like. And so, because I don’t think little babies can process nature and make conclusions about God’s grace, glory or justice, it seems they would fall into the category of still having an excuse.
The way I see it is that God ordains, for his own wise purposes, that at the judgment day all the children who died in infancy will be covered by the blood of Jesus. And they will come to faith, either in heaven immediately or later in the resurrection. And God will not condemn them because he wants to manifest openly and publicly that he does not condemn those who did not have the mental capacities to put their faith in him.
I don’t think babies have that capacity. Therefore I can say to parents that the loss of an infant is not their eternal loss.I hope that answers your question KatieRegards