Why Does God Allow Painful Loss of Life Among Believers?

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This may be the most difficult question for the Christian believer to answer. Why does our loving God, the One who ransomed us with the life of His own Son, allow His much-loved children to undergo painful loss, such as in the case of the Saratoc family from Oradea, Romania?

A young Christian mother and her 1-year-old son died in a car accident last week, and their funeral brings this painful question to mind. The image of a lifeless infant lying in the arms of his breathless mommy broke the heart of the evangelical community in Romania and abroad. It is difficult to read about this or watch the video without being overcome by tears.

Why does God allow this much loss of life, in such a painful way?  The standard answer given by Christian apologists is to invoke the fall of man into sin, and explain the consequences of disobedience in the garden of Eden.  Even though we will never have a satisfactory answer, I will attempt to mention a few things to help us gain a biblical perspective.

First, it is imperative we understand that these precious lives are not lost to God the way the family and dear ones may see them for a time, as they are grieving.   From God’s perspective these lives are in His hands.  He alone is the Author of life, and He has full control over the life and eternal destiny of His children.  Jesus proclaims the eternal security of believers in John 10:28 “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”  Therefore, to Him these lives are not lost.

Apostle Paul also mentions that life is not lost in the way the world sees loss, but life actually continues after death.  In 2 Cor 5:6-8 he writes “we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord… …and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”  The children of God will be with the Lord when they leave this earthly realm, no matter what age they die.

Second, God uses these difficult events to make Himself manifest as the Comforter of his children.  In great loss, God makes Himself available to strengthen, comfort, and ultimately draw believers closer to Him by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in them.

The example of John Owen, the great man of God and theologian, stands out as I write this.  He and his wife had 11 children and 10 of them died while they were infants.  It is difficult to imagine so much loss in a family.  But despite these trials God strengthened and used Owen to write many theological masterpieces of the Puritan era, but specifically a series of works centered on the mortification of sin in the life of the Christian, which have stood as reference for us until now.

Ultimately we could resign like Solomon when he said in Eccl 8:17 “then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.”

But I think a better approach is to accept the will of God in our life as in Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Therefore let us not be like the skeptics who stand on ungodly moral presuppositions and ask “God, how could you?” Let us accept the will of God for us, and understand the comfort and security that He provides through His Word and His Holy Spirit.

2 comments on “Why Does God Allow Painful Loss of Life Among Believers?

  1. So incredibly sad! Sad for us and most assuredly sad and painful beyond comprehension for the families.

    I like this quote by Paul Washer:
    “In our trials, we have no choice but to go forward. Turning back leads to certain perdition, but going forward leads to certain glory.”

    • When we stare death in the face as in the case of a breathless young mom with her dead baby in the casket… Ah… So painful… We cannot focus on the sting of death, but look ahead to the certain future glory… Amen to that.

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