Ask Your Preacher
Since all sickness is a consequence of sin, why are some innocent children dealt a greater portion of this consequence than others? Why might one child be born healthy and another not? Is this random chance, or are some favored divinely?
Sickness is a consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. One of the curses of their sin was that we all must face our own mortality – life is finite. Sickness, disease, and pain are a part of the human existence. Sadly, this is true even for children. Though, as you mentioned, sickness isn’t doled out equally. Some people suffer greatly, and others face relatively few health problems. There are several reasons that someone might have a greater portion of sickness.
- We reap what we sow (Gal 6:7-8). The choices we make have consequences in this life – and in the next. What you do affects you and those around you that you come in contact with. When you behave godly, certain things happen; when you behave sinfully, other things happen. That is a universal principle of life. If a woman drinks while she is pregnant or a child is neglected and malnourished because of ungodly parents – they will suffer the consequences of the choices their parents make. Some children face health issues that were totally avoidable if the parents had simply lived moral lives.
- Sometimes bad things simply happen because they happen. Job suffered greatly, and his children died, but it wasn’t his (or their) fault. Job hadn’t done anything wrong, nor had his kids. It all happened because Satan wanted to do evil (Job 1:6). As long as we live in this world of sin, there will be troubles. Sometimes, there isn’t anyone at fault… just time and chance wreaking havoc in a sinful world (Eccl 9:11).
- Sometimes people suffer so that God can be glorified. Jesus’ disciples asked Him why a certain man had been born blind, and Jesus answered, “So that God’s works might be revealed in him.” (Jhn 9:1-3) This man’s ailment provided an opportunity for God to show His glory. There are times that we suffer, so God can teach us and teach others through our pain (Eccl 7:2-3).
I'd like a few answers to questions that are rarely (if ever) brought up in Sunday services. What happens to people with brain diseases? Is this another way for the brain to protect itself from trauma it can't handle? Are people born with Down Syndrome guaranteed a place in heaven?
Of Sound Mind
Dear Of Sound Mind,
Those with mental handicaps would fall under the same rules as children. In order to obey the gospel, we must have the maturity to:
- Take responsibility for our sins (Acts 3:19).
- Hear and understand the Word of God (Rom 10:17).
- Be responsible for our own spiritual growth (1 Pet 2:1-2).
Children and those with mental disabilities do not have that ability, and God only holds us accountable for what we are able to do (2 Cor 8:11-12).
All disease and illness is a consequence of sin. When Adam and Eve sinned, their bodies began to die (Gen 2:17). When mankind was kicked out of the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:24), diseases of all sorts began to creep in. Mental diseases are just one consequence of that fateful decision that Adam and Eve made.
Why did God make pain?
If the pain you are talking about is the human body’s ability to feel pain, our pain reflexes are a healthy thing. Those who can’t feel pain have a disease called congenital analgia, and it is a devastating disease. As the parents of one child with this disease said, “Pain teaches; pain protects; pain can save you from a lot of bad things in life.” Our nervous system is a tremendous gift from God, and it is part of what makes us “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps 139:14).
On the other hand, if you are talking about the emotional trials, suffering, and pain that people go through on this planet – God didn’t do that. God didn’t create the world imperfectly. When God finished the world, it was perfect (Gen 1:31). All imperfection that we find in this world is a consequence of our sins (Gen 3:17-19).
Why are innocent victims allowed to be violated in this world? Are they sacrificial lambs or what? I see no purpose in, for example, young children being allowed to be violated.
All suffering is caused by mankind and sin. When God made the world, He made it to be good - it was sin that destroyed that perfect vision. All wickedness and evil brings pain to God and grieves Him and He will only endure it for so long. In Noah's day, God saw all the violence that was in the world and it made Him deeply sad (Gen 6:5-6). God gives mankind the freedom to make our own choices, but that doesn't mean it doesn't pain Him to see the evil upon this earth. God tells us that the only reason He endures it is because He is longsuffering and desiring to give as many people as possible the chance to repent and turn to Him (2 Pet 3:9). It is a dark and ugly world, and God's love is the shining light in that darkness (Jhn 3:19). All the blameless and forgiven will be comforted in His arms in heaven (Rev 21:3-4).
Lately, I have been feeling like I have not been the best christian that I ought to be. I try to be excited that I'm going to heaven and how blessed I am to know God and living how Christ would have me to, but sometimes I get so upset thinking about all those (including family) that won’t be there with me. I try to always be positive, hoping that others may come to repentance, but for some, I know there is no chance they will follow Christ. Why do I keep lingering on these thoughts?
You are facing a normal and healthy part of the christian growth process. It is a sign of compassion when that you look at those who are lost in this world, and it wrenches your heart. It is okay to be hurt by the vastness of those who have chosen the wide path to destruction (Matt 7:13). Jesus wept over His kinsman in Jerusalem that turned their back on the truth and rejected the gift of salvation (Lk 19:41-42). When Paul thought about his lost fellow countryman, it grieved him deeply… so much so that he wished he could trade places with their souls, so they might be saved (Rom 9:1-3). Paul’s heart’s desire was that his beloved kinsman would be saved (Rom 10:1-2), but he also knew that it was their choice, not his. You are having the same emotions that Paul and Jesus dealt with – take it as a sign of spiritual maturity and growth.
The important thing to remember is that the greatest help you can be to the lost is to be that shining light and preserving salt that Christ exhorted us to become (Matt 5:13-15). You can’t save everyone from their own choices, but, as Paul said, we try and live so that we can save some (Rom 11:13-14).