Hope for Newtown’s Parents and Others like Them

“You may not feel very much like reading right now. No words can take away the pain, bring people back or make everything right. But sometimes information can change our perspective and provide what we need to know.” I know it has only been one week since you experienced firsthand what you had previously only heard others call “a state of shock.” But it is my hope that this brief blog post will help you—and others like you—by directing you to the Lord who is full of mercy and compassion.

At a time like this questions abound. Not ever having walked this particular road of suffering that you are walking I am unable to imagine all that may be going on in your mind, or the heart-wrenching pain in your soul. But I want to help. So let me make an attempt to let the words of God answer just a handful of questions your mind may be asking, but you are not able to verbalize.

5 Honest Questions a Parent May Ask When a Child Dies

  1. Why Is there So Much Suffering in the World? “The Bible’s general answer to why people suffer and die is that we live in a fallen world. This world is not heaven and it is not hell. It is in ‘bondage to decay’ (Rom 8:21). It is dislocated. The human race has turned its back on God’s right to decide how we live and so ‘sin entered the world… and death through sin’ (Rom 5:12). This may seem like a cold and irrelevant answer to someone grieving, but it is the clearest explanation of why our world is as it is.” Every one of us has gone astray from God and from His original intention for human beings (Isa 53:6). That’s why the world is the way it is.
  2. Is My Own Sin the Cause of My Child’s Death? The answer to this question is an emphatic No. Human beings have long functioned by a faulty default judgment about suffering. That response is: “Tragedy is in your life. Therefore, you are evil.” Job, the righteous Old Testament saint, had friends who made this mistake. And so did the disciples of Christ. Upon seeing the blind man, they immediately asked Jesus whose fault it was. Was it his? Or his parents? Jesus replied, “Neither. It was God’s plan for displaying His greatness and glory” (John 9:1-3).
  3. Is it Wrong to Grieve? Again, the answer is No. Grief is an emotion created by God. We grieve because we are made in God’s image. Therefore, since God grieves, and we are made in His image, we also grieve. Righteous anger is often a part of our grief. Death, in particular, makes us angry. It made Jesus angry as He grieved the death of His friend Lazarus (John 11:33). And He wept (John 11:35). Therefore, weep freely. Let the tears of brokenness and grief wash over your hurting soul. Let your tears carry you to God. If God puts your tears in a bottle (Ps 56:8) then He most definitely cares about your pain.
  4. Can God Possibly Understand My Pain? Yes, God understands the excruciating pain that every parent experiences upon the death of his or her child. But what about unjust death? Can God possibly understand that? Over 2,000 years ago, God the Father watched His Son, Jesus Christ, suffer the most humiliating and brutal death designed by the Romans in that day (read Mark 15, for example). And Jesus, the Son of God, also understands your pain. This makes Him a faithful, merciful, and compassionate mediator between us and God (Heb 4:15).
  5. How Can I Go On? There is only one ultimately-satisfying way to go on with life from here. Move forward with the Lord by your side. This will not eliminate your pain; that will still be real for a long time. However, you will not walk through the valley of death alone. If you turn to the Lord Jesus by faith, trusting in His perfect and sufficient sacrifice for your sin then you will be brought near to God. Your own soul will be at peace with God and that is where peace in this life begins. Christ suffered to bring us to God (1 Pet 3:18). He invites you to bring your burdens to Him (Matt 11:28-30).

No one understands pain and suffering as well as the Lord Jesus Christ, and no one knows grief like His Father. Know that He loves you. Know that He cares of you. “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Ps 34:18). Come to Him today.

Recommended Resources
At a Time Like This (Matthias Media) – the two quotations above are from this booklet
From Grief to Glory (James Bruce)

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