Babies sometimes die before being born. Newborns sometimes die shortly after birth. Toddlers sometimes die. How can the God of the Bible be true when tragedies such as these occur constantly all over the world?

Two major points must be made evident immediately when defending our faith:

  1. When the human race chose to reject God and go their own independent ways, the horrors of death, tragedy, and injustice entered our realm. God did not originally design things this way. Humans are to blame. Does this mean, however, that God is directly causing every single tragedy as specific punishment for our sin? I don’t think so. Rather I tend to see tragedies as an automatic result of our sinful, self-centered state. It’s like God telling us not to jump off a cliff. If we do, then the laws of gravity, which God knew about previously, take over and we reap the results (even though He could suspend those laws). So although God is mindful of each tragedy, I don’t look at Him as though He caused them. There are exceptions. He does stir up judgments against individuals and nations from time to time. He is not totally divorced from His creation. He intervenes in great ways and in judgmental ways from time to time. Whenever He does intervene, it is always for the good of mankind, both in the short run and the long run.
  2. God’s Eternal Plan will make everything right (and worthwhile) in the end.

These may or may not be comforting words to parents who have lost a young child. Perhaps the best comfort we can give them is to weep with them. People generally aren’t in the mood for a sermon when in the middle of the grieving process. While Jesus did weep with the friends and family of Lazarus, He did demonstrate His promise of everlasting life, which has the power to deliver us all from the curse of this sinful world.

When a young person dies, we tend to describe that tragedy as “an untimely death.” While I certainly understand this, it may not be from God’s perspective. After all, He knows the future of that child, and it may be horrible. Perhaps worse things would happen if that child lived longer which would ruin their personality or saving faith in Jesus. God had to remove the infant Jesus from Satan’s jaws of death. God did not take Jesus out of this world to prevent His premature death for obvious reasons, but it reveals how the devil seeks to destroy people (1 Peter 5:8). One might argue that God should prevent such tragedies since He has the power to do so. All I can say is that in His wisdom, He knows when to intervene and when not to intervene, and I cannot fully explain why (neither could Job, and God did not tell him either). Jesus did tell a parable about wheat and tares in Matthew 13. In verse 30 He says to not pull out the tares (evil, or evil ones) from the earth because the wheat (God’s true children) would be harmed, but allow both to grow together until the harvest. So God has His kids in mind throughout all the horrors and injustices in this fallen world. With His Plan, eventually all evil will be finally done away with.

Do these young people who die go to heaven? I know we would like to think so. Even though the practice of infant baptism is not Scriptural, well-meaning religious people have added it to their practices in order, they think, to ensure eternal life for those young ones. Does this mean that those young ones who weren’t lucky enough to get sprinkled will go to Hell? I don’t think so. The truth is that we can only wonder and guess. In 2 Samuel 12:23, when King David was mourning the death of his infant son whom he illegitimately fathered with Bathsheba, he said, “But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” This may give us a hint that these babies will go to a great place, but was David speaking from his own opinion, or was this a truth nugget from God? It’s difficult to tell. Or, was he referring to a place souls go to before Judgment Day? One thing we know for sure is that God is Perfect and whatever happens it proper and right.

Another comforting Scripture is found in Matthew 18:10. Jesus, speaking about young children, said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” It appears from this that kids have angels assigned to them, so the old phrase concerning “guardian angels” probably stems from this verse rather than the old-time hit movie, “It‘s a Wonderful Life.” My question is, if young ones have these angels, do they continue with them throughout life? I hope, and believe so. I just cannot see an angel saying, “Okay! The kid just turned into an adult, so I’m outta here!“

When death strikes early, it is difficult for us to immediately apply Romans 8:28 which states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” We may never wrap our minds around this one entirely. I do believe, however, that in the afterlife, we will see all clearly. The question then becomes, can we still trust in this God of ours when things go badly? This was part of Job’s test.

We also tend to misjudge things. In Jesus’ day, people thought that people who experienced early death were worse sinners than others. Jesus corrected this misconception in Luke 13:1-5. In this case, Jesus used early death as a teachable moment by reminding us that unless we repent, we also will likewise perish. Death is a wake-up call for people who are not yet right with their Creator. Therefore, an infant death, for example, can be used to wake up several others who can greatly influence the kingdom of God while they live on earth. I’ve seen God draw people to salvation by using deaths of infants. Those infants had a divine purpose that they knew nothing about. On the other hand, tragedy can also make the human heart even harder against God. It all depends on what’s in the heart. When people were accusing Jesus of making up His own off-the-wall religion, He said, “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself “ (John 7:17).

In summation, I do not think that Adam and Eve had much of an idea what sin’s curse would wrought throughout human history. Thousands of years later, we still cannot completely understand life’s tragedies and complexities. We can, however, choose to continue our walks with our Creator trusting Him to make all things right in the afterlife where death loses its sting (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). But while we still have that “sting,” God can comfort us if we turn to Him during those tough times.

Feedback So Far:

PT: Great question Dave. Appreciate you posing such a difficult question and the godly counsel you offer and agree with everything you say. Much to ponder about. I thought too I might pass along some info taken from a Billy Graham training seminar (Rapid Response Team) I recently attended in how to minister effectively to those who have suffered loss and are in a crisis situation. People deeply impacted with trauma and grief.


  1. Unwelcome preaching or giving a sermon
  2. Trying to cure the problem
  3. Being theological vs pastoral
  4. Poor timing
  5. Confusing witnessing with just showing up
  6. Thinking their faith is just like yours
  7. Using language they don’t understand
  8. Using churchy cliches, like “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away” (dangerous)
  9. Equating your own experience with theirs, stay away from personal experiences
  10. Trying to answer the “Why has Thou forsaken me?” question. Only God knows for sure.


  1. Intense grief is like a fingerprint, it is different for everyone
  2. Be there for them, make yourself available
  3. Be patient, spend more time listening than talking, give full attention, listening build trust
  4. Use open ended questions to help them talk, like “How are you holding up?”
  5. Listen to see what else might be contributing to their level of pain and suffering, 65% of all trauma victims already have some king of pain before the crisis
  6. Have a short-term presence with a long-term ministry in mind
  7. Ask if they have family and friend support
  8. Help them understand available resources
  9. Help them take the next reasonable step without manipulation.


  1. Wait for the Holy Spirit’s “nudge” to bridge the gap between the clinical and biblical, let the Holy Spirit guide you
  2. Find out what God is already doing in their life and go along side them, ask if they have a church or church family, or if they believe in God
  3. Be prepared to share the hope you have in Christ (the gospel) and what is true about God and His loving care, but do so with gentleness and respect. Remember, Christ is our only mediator between the God of all comfort and those we want to comfort. Jesus said, “…love one another just as I have loved you” (John 15:12)
  4. Reading Scripture helps, acknowledge this is a very difficult time and “ask permission” to read Scripture, consider Psalm 119:25,28 and Ps. 42 and Ps. 88
  5. Prayer becomes very important, bringing words of encouragement and attention to God with needed words of hope and Christ’s love. Prayer commends the person into the faithful hands of Christ. “Ask” if they want to pray, almost all people will say “yes”
  6. Have a follow-up strategy, invite them to church and to meet with them again. “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. II Thess. 2:16-17