When Children Die, Searching for Answers

To those who cry out, “What’s God going to do about evil in this world?,” I want you to know that it’s a completely legitimate question.

My response would be, “He already did.  Jesus came to deal with it and was victorious over it.”  But I didn’t arrive at this answer overnight. 

For God so loved the world, that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Because I believe in a God who loves us—whose very character is love; because He is merciful and compassionate and calls the little children near to Him; because I believe in a God whose own Son died so that you and I could join the faithful in heaven; because I know He came to give us eternal life, I have come to some conclusions after more than a decade of praying and seeking God on this.

There is comfort here and because my theology is built on the character of God and the truth of His Word, this is what I believe:

I believe my daughter Julia is not “dead.”  She is very much alive in heaven with a fullness of life I will never comprehend here.  She is not dead in reality which is both spiritual and physical.  But she is not here.  This has been the sentimental journey to a reunion someday in heaven where I will be reunited with my child in the presence of the saints and angels and God Himself.  She is there by God’s mercy and by the blood of Jesus.  I will join her by my faith in a God who loves like this.

By analogy, it’s kind of like Julia and I had both been in the earth airport waiting to go on stand-by to heaven.  Her name got on the list and she got bumped to first class and went with Jesus to the most wonderful place I couldn’t even begin imagine.  I’m still waiting in the airport–waiting on stand-by.  Same destination.  Different flight.  Just as I had eagerly anticipated a future with her, she’s in heaven eagerly anticipating a future with me.  I’ll be there with bells on!

I believe she will not be a baby or a child.  But she will know I was her mother.  Better than that, though, because of what Jesus did for both of us, we will be sisters.

I believe that the power of God enveloped those innocents.  Those like my daughter Julia who was stillborn, those babies miscarried, those innocent 6 and 7 year olds shot were surrounded by the Holy Spirit.  Any pain they might have felt was absorbed by the loving mercy of God.  Just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not feel the flames or emerge smelling like smoke (see Daniel 3), I believe the protective love of God shielded them from the earthly evil reality unfolding around them.

Furthermore, I believe that just as mothers who have given birth forget the pain of delivery, so these children in the presence of God cannot even recall anything but the beauty of heaven, joy in Christ, love for their family members, and for those who sought to preserve life. 

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. ( John 16:21-22, NIV)

More than that, I believe the children who survived the shooting can likewise be preserved from lasting effects of this tragedy by bringing them to the tender care of their Heavenly Father through the ministry of His Word.  They, too, can experience His comfort.

(I have previously written about prevalent ideas  in the Christian community on the salvation of children and for pastors who would like to debate the theology of this, read first what I wrote and then I will be pleased to discuss it with you separately.  This is not the place.)

But the conclusion I have reached is this:

“The best way I can describe it is that the mercy of God is exerted powerfully upon those who are soul perfect, body innocent, bearing mankind’s sinful image, and the glorious Image of God, who have had no opportunity to do anything good or bad.

My view is that God does kind of a ‘Creator’s prerogative reach back’ as part of His sovereign plan, and takes hold of those souls whose Image of God has not been tainted by rebellious acts against Him. It’s a broken image because of humanity’s sinful inheritance, but this is why it’s key that He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy! God pulls them by His mercy through the cleansing blood of Christ, and secures them in heaven so that they are saved in the same way—through the blood of Christ—as everyone else who will be saved. There is no other way of salvation, but for the incapable among us–fetuses, stillborn, handicapped beyond an ability to process things–God is merciful and loving in accordance with His character.

So, I would like to reassure every woman out there who has ever miscarried, given birth to a stillborn baby, or yes, intentionally aborted a child, that the Image of God is soul deep. The mercy of God upon His image bearers is so profound, His love so boundless that I cannot imagine heaven without your child and mine. You and I are culpable because of opportunities we’ve had. These innocents and their salvation depend utterly upon God.

This is the God I know: He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness at all times, and yet forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin when we turn and confess our known wrongs. He is faithful to forgive us.”

To the families of Newtown, the same applies to children who are characterized more by innocence and dependence with a childlike faith.  It is my prayer that you will know the God I know…the One whose love and mercy, whose compassion and grace, whose holiness and purity define His character… and that you will find comfort in His presence and know His peace. 

In prayers and much love to you, Barbara <><

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Categories Articles, Articles and Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on December 18, 2012

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