Why Do Children Die?
There have been a lot of deaths in my community of late. No death is "easy" to deal with, but there's something that makes it harder to deal with when it's a child.
Recently, there was a couple in my church that had a baby. Their baby was born with multiple complications, the worst of which was water-on-the-brain. She was 19 pounds when she was born, 12 of those pounds in her head. Her case was the worst the doctors had ever seen. Even before she was born the people around the couple jumped into action. The entire church (containing over 2000 people) was praying for her. By the time she was born people were doing even more. Meals were prepared, thousands of dollars were raised and people were fasting and praying with all their hearts for God to lay His healing hand upon her. An entire community and beyond were backing this family. Up to this point, despite her medical issues, the baby girl had a huge personality. She was spunky and lively and she knew full well who her parents were. She would smile and coo when her daddy talked or her mommy sang to her. Her joy was clearly evident. She was an intelligent child. She was beautiful too. She had long delicate fingers, beautiful ears, eyes and nose. She was a treasure and she was loved. When she was a little over a month old, the day came for her to have a big surgery. She'd been through a couple of surgeries already, but this was the big one. There was little chance for her to make it and one of the best case scenarios was that she would live but be blind, deaf and mute the rest of her life. Needless to say, she didn't make it. Halfway through she was completely stable and things were going well. The neurosurgeon had just finished and the plastic surgeon was about to start reshaping and reconstructing the tissue around her head. Suddenly, she went into cardiac arrest and died.
Chances are, you didn't like that story. It's an intense, 100% true and real story. In this life there will be a lot of stories that we don't like, the question is, how do we deal with situations like this?
The most important thing we can do is trust God. It's natural to be upset with Him over something like this, though. We get the "How could He let this happen?" thought and grow bitter oftentimes. We have to remember that God has a perfect plan. The baby from the story above only lived about a month, yet did more for people than some of us will do in our entire lives. She taught people what love really is, she brought a community together, she strengthened a family and she spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. Sometimes people simply fulfill their purpose sooner than others so God takes them home. God can even use them and their story to impact people long after they're gone. God does have a plan and He can use bad things for a good purpose. We have to remember though, that God doesn't cause the bad things. God only does good things, but sometimes He allows the bad things to happen to help grow His people. In the end, once the bitterness has subsided, the appropriate response is to thank God for his plan and for the little time we have with those we love.
Crying is a good place to start, too. Although this seems redundant, it's vital. Crying is a body's natural response to emotional situations. It's okay to cry, even if you're a man. When people, especially children, die we need an outlet. Talking about it can help, but there are feelings attached to such a death that words just can't explain. You can not hold those feelings inside, otherwise they will eat you up and destroy you. Just let it all out. Death wasn't part of God's original plan. Even Jesus cried over death. He cried when He found out that Lazarus was dead. It's the shortest verse in the Bible, "Jesus wept". Think about that, just ponder what it would have been like to see Jesus crying, but not just crying, weeping. He didn't like death and He was just as upset by it as we are. His weeping at that moment was like Him asking His Father why it had to be this way. He cried again when He was in the garden praying before He was taken to his death. He didn't want it to be that way, He didn't want to die, but He knew he had to and he was willing to do it for us. Death isn't a fun thing to have to deal with, but crying really does help.
Talking about what has happened is a good coping method as well. It's not easy or fun to talk about, but I think it's necessary. Having someone close to you, like a spouse, parent or best friend, that you can talk to about the situation can be beneficial, not only to you, but to them as well. Chances are, they need to talk about it just as much as you do. You don't even necessarily have to talk about the actual death, you can celebrate the life they had, their accomplishments and their unique personality and quirks. Talk about it and feel the love you have inside for them, really feel it and let it flow through you as you remember them.
Talking about a situation with people is one thing, but we should also talk to God about it. Praying to Him and asking for His Peace and His Wisdom for the situation is a very good thing to do. Worshiping and praising Him is just as good. In the Bible there is a story that is somewhat similar to the story from above. King David had a child that was struck ill and likely on his deathbed. For 6 days David fasted and prayed and mourned for his child. On the seventh day he was informed that the child had died. Instead of continuing his mourning and fasting, David got up, cleaned himself off and ate food. After that, he worshiped God. His servants were amazed. When they questioned his strange behaviour he told them, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” David had asked God for a miracle and God said no. David accepted that answer and had hope. At the end he says, "I will go to him, but he will not return to me." which is David saying that although he won't see his son again in this life, he knows he'll be reunited with him in heaven. (This story is in 2 Samuel 12.) More hope comes with this story in that out of this situation Solomon was born. Solomon grew up to write at least 2 books of the Bible. He was a very wise man filled with the Spirit and Wisdom of God.
Basically, bad things can happen to good people. It was never a part of the original plan, it was never supposed to be this way, but it is this way. For the wages of sin is death. Even those who never sinned have to die because of it. But the gift of God is eternal life. We know for sure that the baby from the story is 100% healthy and happy in heaven right now. She's no longer having to deal with the complications of this world. God wants that for each and every one of us. He wants to see everyone in Heaven, but we have to accept His gift and realize how big it really is and then respond by giving our lives to Him. He really does love us, even in the midst of chaos. We will praise Him in this storm. He is always good and always faithful and in times like these, when we have to deal with tough situations, we need to remember that.