Mike Novotny - Why Would God Allow Good Kids to Die?
Why would God allow good kids to die? That's the heart of a question I got the other day in church. And it was about the story of Job. Have you read that part in the Bible before? It's really weird to be honest with you. It says that the devil somehow comes up to God and accuses a man named Job. And the devil's accusation is that Job, you know he seems very faithful and very devout, that he loves and worships God, but maybe, maybe the only reason Job acts that way is because he has a good life. He's married, he has a beautiful family, he's blessed, he has money. And the devil says, "God, if you took that all away, would he still love you"?
I won't tell you the whole story but the book of Job is this fascinating account: Do we love God because he's God or do we just love God because of the stuff he gives? But this question got more specific. God, in the story, allows some terrible things to happen in Job's life. He loses his business, he loses his flocks, he loses his health and the questioner is right, he loses his kids. In a terrible tragedy all of his children, who don't appear to have done anything wrong, all die. And the question is, how is that fair? My answer to that is this. It is impossible for you or for me to know what's fair. Or to know what's good. There's a teenage girl at the first church where I served who had brain cancer. And she had been through a lot of surgeries, a lot of chemos, a long terrible road.
And it was so hard to understand what's the point of this? It's a good family, a good kid, why would she have to go through this? And I remember speaking to her father saying, "I wish it was different, but God sees this whole picture of her story and we're looking through a straw. You know, we just see the cancer and the suffering but we can't see what's gonna happen tomorrow or the people that this will affect and God sees and God knows and because of Jesus, we know that God is good and he can be trusted. But you and I just don't know. We don't know what's good. We don't know what's fair". And I'd say the same thing about Job's kids. There's one passage though, that kind of hints that maybe God has a plan that we don't know about.
Isaiah chapter 57, verse one says this: The righteous perish, Catch that? Not the wicked, not the foolish, but the righteous, people who are right with God through faith, they perish and no one takes it to heart. The devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Do you ever take that to heart? Maybe Job's ten kids who had faith in the God who could save them would have lost their faith. Maybe they would have drifted. Maybe their faith would have been so weak and they would have made such bad decisions, they would have pushed other people away from God. Do you ever take that to heart? What if God calling someone out of this life and into paradise, does not just spare them from evil, but minimizes the evil that the devil intends? Could that happen?
According to this passage, it can. And because of the goodness of God, we know that it must. We know, if God is good, if his plans are to prosper us, then even the tragedies, even the pain, even the things we don't understand, must be part of God's incredible plan. Let me leave you with this story. I heard a story in church many years ago about a town who's mine had collapsed and many people were killed. It was a small town so everyone knew one of the miners who were down in the shaft when the cave crumbled and they ran out of oxygen. And they gathered in front of the crumbled entrance and the pastor got up to speak and what would he say to these people? They died and it didn't seem fair.
These people had lost the ones that they loved. How would he make sense of their pain and their suffering? And so the pastor said this: He said, "In my home is a beautiful piece of embroidery. And the other day I took it off the wall and I looked at the back side. And the back side was a mess. It was a tangled mess of different colored strings and knots. It was lumpy over here and patchy over there. It was ugly. But when I turned it around, I saw a message from God's word. Beautifully embroidered". And he said to the grieving people, "You and I, in this life, just see the back side of God's plans. We see the stuff that doesn't make sense. The knots in life, the strings that seem they're moving in the wrong direction, and we want to criticize God because we don't see what God sees".
On the other side of the plan is love and there's blessing. There's the deliverance from evil. There's the avoidance of temptation. And so it takes faith to admit, I don't know the whole story. God's good all the time and he's working this for my good too. Run to the cross of Jesus. See a God who loved you enough to suffer, that you'd be spared from pain and you could overcome death. And trust that, in all things, God works for the good, the good of those who love him.