What do you tell someone who asks, “If there is a God why are there young children who are sick and dying?”
An important truth for anyone to hear is that God loves His creation, including little children. During Jesus’ life on this earth, He gave special attention to young children (Matthew 18:3; 19:14). God encourages us to care for the orphans, widows (James 1:27), prisoners (Heb. 13:3), and poor (Luke 4:18). Even though there is sickness and death, God does love us (John 3:16).
This is a good question to ask, but it assumes several things are true. First, it assumes that every living man or woman in this world does not deserve to suffer, no matter how young or old. It also assumes that God may not be loving and considerate. And the question also assumes the following,
You thought that I was just like you. (NASB) Ps. 50:21
All three assumptions are contrary to the truth. This question is also similar to, “Why does God allow war?”
Man Deserves To Suffer
The first part of the answer to this question is that every man and woman is a sinner. God is holy and we are evil. This has never been a popular concept, especially today. The reason we struggle with this issue is presented in these two passages,
God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. (NASB) 1 Samuel 16:7
All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives. (NASB) Proverbs 16:2
Most men and women see themselves as good people. But God has a different standard,
YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY. (NASB) 1 Peter 1:16
Who of us measure up? God says that none of us do according to Rom. 3:10-18. Genesis gives us God’s perspective,
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (NASB) Genesis 6:4
The presence of illness in our lives is the result of Adam’s decision to disobey God. When he disobeyed, illness and death became a reality in this life (Gen. 2:17). And we suffer in other ways when we choose to sin. We hate, lie, lust, eat too much, complain, and seek personal glory. We are self-centered people. God used Israel to discipline a number of nations in the Old Testament because of their sin.
It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God is driving them out before you . . . (NASB) Deut. 9:5
God Does Love Us
So we deserve to suffer. In fact, we deserve to go to hell and remain there for eternity,
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NASB) Romans 6:23
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God . . . He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (NASB) John 3:16-18, 36
But the wonderful news is that God sent Jesus to rescue us from eternal torment and separation from God. God did not send Jesus to punish us but to rescue us from what we deserve – eternal suffering.
Why does God allow young children to suffer? Children are sinners too,
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (NASB) Ps. 51:5
God loves us. That is why He sent Jesus to die so that our sins could be forgiven. Do you desire Christ’s forgiveness? Learn how you can receive it at “Searching for God.”