Friday, November 14, 2008

Why do bad things happen to children?

I just received an email from a Bible Q&A reader who asked me a piercing question.

Why do bad things happen to children? My 13-year-old son has brain cancer. I'm not dealing with it very well. He has had the tumor removed and all the treatment. Now it is very tough to sit and wait to see if it will come back. He was a great athlete and now he can hardly walk because of the effects of the surgery. How do I deal with all of this?

Brian M.
And here's my reply that I wrote to Brian M.
Dear Brian,

I will certainly begin praying for your son and will ask others in my church and other Christian friends to help pray for him also. Lots of evil happens in this world for which we have no explanation, your son's brain cancer being a sad example. It certainly isn't his fault or yours.

And answering why is really impossible. The closest thought I can offer is something I heard from a minister once. He answered the question "Why do bad things happen to good people?" in what is sort of a typical Jewish way, by asking another question instead of giving an answer. Have you ever noticed in Scripture how when Jesus was asked a question, He often replied with a question?

Anyway, this minister said instead of seeking an answer to that unanswerable question, perhaps we should consider the question "Why do good things happen to bad people?" because we are all sinners and if the Lord gave us what we deserve, none of us would get mercy, we're all guilty.

So the amazing thing about God is that instead of giving us the judgment we so richly deserve, instead He gives us grace and mercy through the gift of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And by faith in him, we find our sins forgiven and our souls saved for eternal life. That does not change the nature of evil in this world, nor stop bad things from happening to "good" people, saved Christians. But it does give us the assurance that there is a life beyond this one and we will live in God's kingdom eternally there. I hope your son is saved and if so, even if the Lord does not choose to answer my prayers and yours to heal him, you can be assured you will see him perfectly healthy and happy one day in heaven. There his great athletic ability will not only be restored, but even improved to the point of perfection in a new perfect body that will never get sick and live forever.

I hope this feeble answer is some encouragement. Please keep me informed about your son and your struggles with this terrible situation. If there's anything I can do, write or call me anytime.

Yours in Christ,
John Myers
Please add Brian and his son to your prayers.

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