Ep. 444 Five Responses to “Why Did God Let My Baby Die?”

Ep. 17 Five Responses to, Why Did God Let My Baby Die

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Shows Main Idea – “How do you answer a friend who is not a Christian but searching when she asks why God let my baby die? The grief is seemingly insurmountable, and not having a relationship with God adds a layer of complexity. I’m unsure what to say to her other than to be a friend. What would you say to her? What advice do you have for me?” This question is one of the most difficult ones to answer, but we know God’s Word has an answer, and I want to share with you five things to help this distraught lady.

Show Notes

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Crafted Care: I would not recommend parroting this information verbatim to anyone suffering. I’m speaking to you as a Christian. I do not know her. Each person is different. You will have to factor in her maturity, wisdom, stability, and other things to carefully bring God’s truth to her. Your two main call-to-action points are compassion and competence, in that order (Romans 15:14).

Theology & Psychology: There is a fundamental tension between what is theologically accurate and psychologically comfortable. Because the modern person begins with emotional comfort and tries to fit a theological framework within their psychological framework, they rewrite our theology to accommodate their feelings. There are times when theological precision collides with emotional comfort. Peter ran into this tension when He rebuked the Lord. The theological necessity of Christ dying on the cross did not accommodate Peter’s psychological (emotional) preferences. In Peter’s case, his psychological wants required rewriting sound theology.

Mysterious Sovereignty: Let’s begin with the most complex truth: One of the essential aspects of personal suffering is how we think about God when grief comes. To miss this aspect of suffering is to mishandle and misunderstand what is happening to us because God is in our suffering, permitting it. Suffering can be a means of grace to help us rethink how we think about God. If our focus is more on our suffering than God allowing it, then it will be essential to realign our thinking about God and the suffering, which is what you hope to accomplish with this lady. I’m not suggesting you say this to her, but it must be your worldview as you care for her.

Five Points: Part of what is going on here is that the Lord is drawing her to Himself, which is why she is asking questions about God and the death of her child. It also appears, if she is asking you, there has been some trust accrued between you two. The relational “bridge” you have built to share God with her will be challenged like no other time. Let’s begin with these five points for your consideration.

  1. Silence of God
  2. Courage you need
  3. The question she’s asking
  4. Guilt she has
  5. Belief she needs

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1: The Silence

Is it possible for the Lord to be up to something good that can only come about through your suffering? Could the dark pain you are going through today be the tapestry the Lord will use to show the beauty of His plans for you?

These are good truths to consider as you reflect on His mysterious and good intentions for people. One of the more significant issues to ponder during times of suffering is the silence of God.

  • Why does the Lord not tell you the plans He has for you?
  • Why does He have to be silent?

Silence does not mean a lack of leadership. Leadership is verbal, and leadership can be silent. Just because God is not speaking, it would be wrong to assume He is not leading. It’s both/and because there are times when the Lord needs to choose silence over speaking. (The book of Job talks about the silence of God.)

2: Your Courage

Remember, the Lord is a multitasker. This question will challenge your theology—how you think about and walk with God. Guard your heart as you seek to care for hers.

  • Seek guidance from others, which you are doing here.
  • Trust the Lord to guide you through this.

3: The Question

  • Don’t apologize for God; don’t defend Him; overlook the accusation in her question: don’t let it offend you or trip you up.
  • Speak the truth about God. (See Philippians 1:29 & 1 Peter 2:21 about our call to suffer.)
  • She is human, making her part of the curse of Adam.
  • She struggles with fear, shame, guilt, a temptation to blame, hopelessness, and lostness, and she is afraid to be vulnerable and transparent.
  • She is normal. She wants to know why her baby died, not a wrong question. Make sure she knows this. It is easy for suffering people to take on a false sense of guilt, or there could be a temptation to accuse God of things they don’t understand. In this case, it’s impossible to fully understand why this happened to her (Deuteronomy 29:29).
  • Any person in her situation would ask the “God question.”

Where was God when all this went down? That is a typical question, and typically after the question is asked and answered, the person will struggle. Most of the time, the person is unsatisfied with God’s answers (Isaiah 55:8-9).

  • The answer to her question is that “God was there when all of this went down.” Sometimes, the question asker would prefer to think God was not there. After she realizes He was there, the next question is obvious: Why didn’t He do something about it?
  • You must guard her heart as you walk her through a sound theology of suffering. To think God allows sin and suffering into our lives is hard for any of us to accept.
  • I suspect she will have a weak view of suffering and sovereignty. This lack of awareness is where the gospel can be most profound (Isaiah 53:10). To think it was the will of the Lord to crush His Son is stunning, as well as it should be.
  • It’s okay to say that you do not have all the answers. Not knowing something does not have to keep you from trusting something. (Chair illustration.) We will never fully encompass omniscience.
  • Appeal to her to think biblically about these things, seeking to turn what Satan meant for evil into something good (Genesis 50:20).

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

The more profound questions are: (tread carefully here)

  • Will you follow God only if He gives you what you want?
  • If the Lord gave everybody what they wanted, how would that work, and what kind of world would we have?
  • How does Romans 5:12 factor into this discussion?
  • Do we get to pick and choose when people die?
  • How does distinguishing between primary and secondary causes factor in this situation?
  • Would you want to follow a God who was not sovereign over all things in a fallen world?

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4: Her Guilt

There can be a sense of the guilt-shame-fear complex. Listen to her while being ready to bring her back to the gospel. Please give her a clear understanding of Paul’s perspective on condemnation, judgment, and fault-finding (Romans 9:20)

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

As you listen to her tragic narrative, make sure you don’t become bogged down in the narrative. There are two ditches to stay out of: (1) never getting out of what happened to her and (2) moving too quickly or casually away from what happened.

You’re listening to her story for three main reasons:

  • To sympathize with her (Hebrews 4:15)
  • To understand her story (John 2:24-25).
  • To reinterpret her story biblically, with the goal of bringing her to Jesus (John 4:29).

Let her tell you the bad stuff, and you tell her the good stuff. Ask God to show you when to move forward, but you must lead her on by all means.

Jesus listened to the woman at the well so she could communicate her perspective, but He did not fall into the trap of, “Oh my, what a horrible life you have had,” and never moved forward.

He listened to see where she was and then began to bring a better understanding of her perspectives. Let your friend be appropriately problem-focused, but you lead her to a God-centered way of thinking–as you listen to her story.

5: Her Trust

You cannot connect her suffering to a formula. The “I do good, and good will happen to me, and if I do bad, then bad things will happen to me” is poor theology.

  • The Lord loves her beyond her ability to entirely understand His love for her. His intentions toward her are perfect, loving, just, and unassailable.
  • The Lord can do what He pleases, when He pleases, how He pleases, for any reason that pleases Him, and He is always right.
  • Everything should move us into a more profound worship experience with the Lord.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil (Proverbs 3:5-7).

Call to Action

  1. Seek guidance from others (Proverbs 11:14).
  2. The Spirit will guide you through this (Luke 12:12).
  3. Listen to her story (James 1:19).
  4. Don’t condemn (Luke 6:37).
  5. Weep with her (Romans 12:15).
  6. Her trust in God will hinge upon walking through these three things: Anger, Fear, and Ignorance.
  7. Let our community work for you as you access our resources (Proverbs 24:6).
  8. Pray often with her and for her (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
  9. Teach her the Bible (John 17:17).
  10. Do not let her go (if at all possible). Love her to Jesus.

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