Why does God let Children die?

Bereavement gives us the widowed and the orphaned. But there is no word in the English language to describe Parents who have lost a child. It is as if society is afraid to label this type of grief. How can a loving God allow this type of thing to happen? Obviously the story of Jairus’ daughter had a miraculous and happy ending, but not all stories end like this.

Why does God allow us to suffer? If a bad person suffers, we as humans find some justice in this – but an innocent child? In all these questions we must look to the cross and the resurrection. Jesus did not deserve to be crucified. He’d done nothing wrong. So I guess it would be true to say that the crucifixion was ‘unfair’! But he understood that God had a plan.  His suffering brought about our redemption. There was a greater purpose that wasn’t understood until after the resurrection. As is it is for our suffering in this life – we don’t know why we have to suffer most of the time. It does seem desperately unfair. And we will only know the answers once we reach our eternal life in Heaven. All we can be assured of is that our life, suffering and death are things that are passing. Our life here on earth is only temporary – death is not the end. Through Jesus’ resurrection we have been assured of eternal life after death.

The reality is that even with Jesus’ cross and resurrection, losing a child seems to make very little sense. But without Jesus’ cross and resurrection, it makes no sense at all.

I remember the story of a Father who had just lost his 10 year old son and was so stricken with grief he began to shout at God “What have I done wrong? I begged you to help my sick son but you let him die. Where were you when I needed you? Where were you when my son died?” He immediately felt God speak into his heart saying “The same place I was when My Son died”.

God the Father knows what it is like to lose an innocent child – and He did it for us!??!

19 thoughts on “Why does God let Children die?

  1. I lost my daughter when she was just 7 in a car crash. It broke me, but my wife, my sons and I only survived the loss because God held on to us so tightly. As the French Catholic poet & philosopher Paul Claudel said:

    “Jesus did not come to explain suffering, nor to take it away. He came to fill it with his presence.”

    I think of her every day and the lack of her tears the flesh off my bones; rends me to my heart. But I still feel the reciprocation on love moving between us that tells me we will hold each other again, when every tear is wiped away.

    Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
    my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
    my soul and my body with grief.
    My life is consumed by anguish
    and my years by groaning;
    my strength fails because of my affliction,
    and my bones grow weak …
    But I trust in you, O Lord;
    I say, ‘You are my God.’
    My times are in your hands;
    deliver me from my enemies
    and from those who pursue me …
    Love the Lord, all his saints!
    The Lord preserves the faithful,
    but the proud he pays back in full.
    Be strong and take heart,
    all you who hope in the Lord.

    Psalm 31:9,10,14,23,24.

    • Thank you so much for sharing that Mark. Your faith, your strength is going to give hope to others trying to make sense of tragic loss. Thank you.

      • The moment I saw the heading I thought of you, Mark. Your eloquence in describing what you have been through has meant that I have felt, so much more than I would have otherwise, your anguish at your loss. Even as I write this, I am aware that this time of year is not easy for you and you will be in my thoughts over the next month or so – may your family be enfolded in His presence.

  2. Thanks Mark for sharing this, my 26 year old son died 16 years ago, suddenly from meningitus, for 10 years I looked as if I was coping on the outside, but inside my heart and faith were frozen. I never completly rejected God, but I found it hard to trust him. After 10 years Our Mother called me to Lourdes and it was there that for the first time I was able to speak to God about my frustration. It was here that the healing began and now with the help of God and our Parish Priest who has been generous with his time and direction, I can accept God’s will.

    I still miss the physical presence of our son, but feel close to him in spirit.

    Perhaps connected to my initial reaction my other children have coped less well spritualy, with two of the rejecting God altogether, but I pray to God for them constantly and hand them over to His care, I know that however long it takes, God will call them back to Him,

    Love and prayers to you and your family

  3. When a 6 year old boy was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumour, his parents, in desperation turned to our parish church. They had the boy and his little sister baptized, the boy’s grandfather was baptised and the parents are in RCIA. Over the year that I journeyed with the family as a friend and as a nurse, I saw how this boy’s illness brought the family closer to the Lord and to each other. I witnessed how people who didn’t even know him were touched and prayed all year for the family. His was co-redemptive suffering that yielded much fruit. Ours was to stand at the foot of the Cross and be with him. Only God knows the answer to why children die, but He allowed us to see hope even in such a tragic situation. I wrote about our journey on my blog.

  4. ‘God the Father knows what it is like to lose an innocent child – and He did it for us!??!’

    This is so different though, yes God did lose his child but he was God and knew he would rise from the dead again, the same can’t be said for the rest of us. Instead they are in a coffin, 6ft under – no happy ending.

    • Hi Graham, thanks for your post. I am not going to pretend I know what it’s like to lose a child because I haven’t been through that – but I hope you will read some of the other comments people have made here as they have lost children and they have, over time, regained some sense of peace and hope in their lives. If you want to get in touch, just let me know. Best wishes x

  5. I am Glad that those people who have lost children have found some solace and hope in their faith, I will not pretend to share that faith but if it works for them then that is good.
    I would though council against presuming that living without gods or religion means that there is no route to coping with the pain of such loss. My Father lost two Children, he remained an Atheist to his dying day and whilst he always carried that loss he found a way of coping and of coming to terms with the loss in a way that left him able to continue to live a fulfilled life with much happiness.
    My mother coped in her own way with a mixture of faith thrown in, we never sought to take that from her.
    Obviously in this I lost two siblings, I know how this affected the family- Faith is a coping mechanism open to those who have it, but the pain is the same for all and their are other “success” story’s in coping. I am sure none of us would be foolish enough to claim any rout will cure the pain or even to want to take that cure should it be available, the pain is a part of the memory’s, learning to live with it and to find a happier perspective on the persons life is part of coming to terms.
    My sympathy and understanding is also with those who never reach the point where they can say they are moving foreword, I would not want to contemplate having to do such a thing as a parent.

  6. God bless all of you! I will always pray for you and empathize with your pain. You WILL again see the ones you love in heaven. Jesus is the TRUTH, the WAY and the LIFE. Hold onto that all the days of your life my
    dear brothers and sisters.

  7. we lost our son,27th oct 2009,in june we lost a sister who was about to be married and in oct same 2013,we lost our 2nd daughter.i feel bad.i feel iam in a dream and i’m afraid that i would wake up and find out that it is true our daughter has gone to be with the Lord. I need help

  8. Michael, please know you are not alone in your grief. Our daughter passed away suddenly from flu & pneumonia March 2011. She was an otherwise healthy, outgoing, athletic and beautiful 14 year old girl. Seven months later, her best friend who spent most of her time at our home passed away in a horrific car accident. She was only 15 and beautiful as well although she was very, very broken from losing her best friend. The time since they’ve passed has been extremely difficult but I’m forever amazed at the way I see God working in our lives. I, too, questioned how a God who was to be so loving could allow this but then I came to terms with the reality. If God were to intervene and perform outstanding miracles it would prove His existence. If His existence were proven, what would be the point of living a moral & decent life? He remains silent and allows such things to draw us closer to Him and force us to lean on Him and faith in life after death. My heart pours out to you. I am so very sorry for your loss but I can tell you I pray daily for others, unknown to me. I pray if they are experiencing what I’ve experienced that they find some peace in their hearts and turn to faith to help them through. I’ve found running towards God is the ONLY way I can continue to enjoy life with my husband, our son and our family and friends as, without God I don’t know how I’d live with the loss of our two sweet girls.

  9. I lost my 9yr old son 1 January 2016. I still don’t believe. He was a born again christian, we lrah for the two weeks he was in hospital but he is gone. I am devastated unable to say prayer because we pleaded with God to have mercy to my son but died anyway.

  10. I have been wresting with this same question. I lost my husband a year ago to liver disease and cancer. Then, over the Easter weekend, I lost my 20 year old son to a sudden cardiac arrest. He was autistic, and very much like a little child. He was innocent and sweet. He was my whole life. I have been very angry with God, for both losses, but especially this one. I begged God not to take either of them.

    • I am so sorry. Those are the two greatest losses and so close together is extremely hard… I can’t imagine your pain, but I am praying for you. I lost my daughter last year so I do know part of your pain.

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