Question

My name is_____ and I am struggling with my faith. I don’t understand why God takes kids and good people up to him at such a young age. I have written fellow Christians and ministries in search of guidance, but they ignore my letters. I am hungry for Jesus and would be grateful if you would help me understand this.
—KVW

Michael Answers

You ask why “God takes” kids and good people at such a young age. Your question is based on incomplete and inaccurate assumptions.

Some of your false assumptions are:

  • That everyone who dies does so because God decides to end their time here on earth
  • That we are like dolls in a playhouse that God moves around at his pleasure
  • That nothing happens unless it is his will
  • That it is his duty to not allow anything bad to befall anyone
  • That he must intervene and make only good things happen
  • That staying here on earth is the best option; that it is bad to die and end up in God’s presence rather than staying here on earth in all the sin, sadness, and sometimes pain

Furthermore, in expressing consternation over “bad things” happening to kids or good people, you are assuming that it is appropriate for bad things to happen to adults or bad people. In that case, you are assuming that youth or goodness merits some special favor from God, and that older adults or bad people deserve to die.

Only to provoke a point, I say you seem to know more than God does about what is best. If you were an adult I would tell you to read my book, By Divine Design. It addresses your underlying assumptions. I do not have space to address every point, and much could be said, but I will make a quick pass at answering your question.

When Christians or children die, they pass into God’s presence. Jesus said of children who die, “That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). Paul said, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). He further revealed that he had “a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). Paul, a “good man” considered it better to die and be with Christ. I am sure that many people were very sad at his departing, and some might have wondered why God would take such a good and useful man from their presence, but Paul was present with the Lord and was surrounded by children beholding the face of the Father. So even if you had the power to prevent him from dying or the power to bring him back, he would have chosen to stay dead and in the presence of God. And the children now beholding the face of the Father no doubt prefer their present circumstances to what they see down here on earth where people doubt God.

God does not always force his will in the face of human free will.

As to your assumption that God is the doer of all things and only his will is done, heed the passage that says God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God does not will that any should perish, yet many perish every day. God does not always force his will in the face of human free will. He allows us to live in an environment of cause and effect, making our own choices and learning from them, suffering the consequences of violating the laws of nature.

Solomon said, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Contrary to popular belief, one can be in the wrong place at the wrong time and by chance catch a disease or be hit by a car and die. God doesn’t make such things happen, except on special occasions when he is judging someone for a reason; they happen to us all as we take our chances in a world that is fallen and separated from its creator.

Further, death is inevitable for us all, because we inherited it from our great, great, great… grandfather Adam. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

Finally, bad things do happen in this world, so bad that there is no way we could hold God responsible. Bad people are free to do bad things and hurt children and others. Many people have suffered unjustly, and there is no way to connect God to it. Satan is “the god of this world,” (2 Corinthians 4:4) who has blinded people and led them to do hurtful and stupid things to each other. There will be justice in the life to come, but at present there is no fairness and very little justice. Don’t blame God, blame Adam for separating us from God; and we can blame ourselves for using our free will in harmful ways.

I don’t have space to say more, but know that we have a promise from God: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

 

Question

Dear Mr. Pearl,
I am a 17-year-old girl who is an average, outgoing teenager, loves God, and wants to make the right choices. I am currently interested in two different guys. Both know I am interested, and one of the guys is interested in me as well, but he is quite restrained. The other guy is very friendly and fun and talks a lot, so I feel as if I get to know him better. How do I know which is right for me? How do I keep from making wrong choices? How do I learn to communicate better with the guys in my life? I pray God will give you the wisdom to answer my questions. This is private so don’t print my name.

Michael Answers

You are wise to not settle on the outgoing guy simply because he has a personality that is endearing. The reserved fellow may turn out to be pure gold. He may be more cautious and sober-minded.

You are yet quite young to be making up your mind.

Apparently you are seeing the two guys at the same time, in a group setting, in the presence of others—as it should be. And you are yet quite young to be making up your mind. Girls mature faster than boys. You are a young woman at 18. Guys don’t usually start being men until they are about 22. I assume these two guys are close to your age. If so, they are too young to be seriously considering marriage, other than as a fantasy.

So don’t get in a hurry; you have plenty of time. The reserved guy will feel the pull of matrimony and become bolder in time.

But if you are spending time with the outgoing fellow, you are sending a signal that you are taken, and you will discourage other guys from butting in. If you want to get to know Mr. Reserved, arrange situations where you can be around him and not in the presence of the other guy. Your parents could invite him on a family outing, or a third party could arrange a small group event that will not include Mr. Outgoing. Be sure to read Debi’s book Preparing to Be a Help Meet.

 

Happy hunting,
Mike