Have you ever watched a news report and seen children somewhere in the world who are suffering? Maybe you know of some children who have suffered. Maybe you know a child who has died, never having had a chance to live a full life. It seems so senseless doesn’t it? It can be so easy to question God and wonder why in the world a loving God would ever allow a child to suffer. Let’s look into this a little more and see if we can come up with any answers. Why does God allow innocent children to suffer?
Let’s go to the bible and see what it has to say.
11 My eyes fail from weeping,
I am in torment within ;
my heart is poured out on the ground
because my people are destroyed,
because children and infants faint
in the streets of the city.
12 They say to their mothers,
“Where is bread and wine?”
as they faint like the wounded
in the streets of the city,
as their lives ebb away
in their mothers’ arms.
In this passage, Jeremiah’s words are laced with emotion. Stewing just beneath his grief was an anguished question: How could God have permitted these children to suffer?
All people, including children, are born into sin. How do we know? It says so in the bible.
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned
The sin of Adam and Eve infected each succeeding generation, leading to the suffering and consequences that sin produces. While these children had not participated in the specific sins that incited God’s wrath, they were not themselves sinless.
Unfortunately, children often suffer for their parents’ actions-whether they are crack babies, adult children of alcoholics or teens of emotionally absent parents. In the same way, children, as members of a community, share in the benefits or consequences of that community’s actions, even though they had nothing to do with the decision. In many countries, children are the victims of the older generation’s war and terrorism.
Some people insist that no one but God can be ultimately responsible for such suffering, and perhaps these are the feelings behind Jeremiah’s honest, but bitter complaints that we see here:
19 Arise, cry out in the night,
as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your children,
who faint from hunger
at every street corner.
20 “Look, Lord, and consider:
Whom have you ever treated like this?
Should women eat their offspring,
the children they have cared for?
Should priest and prophet be killed
in the sanctuary of the Lord?
Yet, we must understand that God never wanted any of us to suffer. Death is the natural result of sin. The bible clearly says this here:
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Judah could only blame itself in this instance.
I know that many of you say that it is not fair for a child who has done nothing wrong or has no concept of what they are doing is wrong to have to suffer. I would agree with that completely. On the other hand, do you think it was fair for the only man (Jesus)who ever walked this earth and never committed a sin, to have to be beaten and tortured and endure the most horrible death known to man so that our sins could be forgiven and we would not have to die for our sins? That most certainly was not fair either.
I am not trying to say that the suffering of children is ok. It’s not. What I can tell you is this. I believe in God and I believe that He knows what is best for every person who has ever been or ever will be born on this earth. I believe that He loves each of us with a love that can’t be fathomed with our simple human minds. Keeping these two things in mind, I am convinced that He knows what is the best for each person. If that includes suffering, so be it. A little suffering on earth does not even compare with how amazing an eternity in heaven will be.
I am very certain that I do not have a great answer for why children are allowed to suffer, but I do know someone who does. God. We should find reassurance in that and let that ease our mind. Why? Because in all of recorded history, God has never gotten it wrong. Not even once.