The hardest question I have ever been asked…

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Pastor_Bob, May 29, 2003.

  1. Pastor_Bob

    Pastor_Bob
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    …is, “Why did God have to take my little boy?”

    I just returned from a home in which a 2½ year-old boy drowned in his backyard swimming pool on Tuesday. His mother is very bitter at God right now. I shared with her thoughts from the Word of God, which teaches that the child is now in heaven but she didn’t seem too comforted, but instead is focusing on her loss. I then shared with her the way that she could see her little boy again, but she was not very receptive to the gospel at this time.

    Have any of you had to deal with similar situations?
     
  2. Jim1999

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    Brother Bob,,,I faced something similar, only an infant son, in the early years of my ministry. At the time I had no answer and came up with the thought that all children under the age of accountability were covered by the grace of God. I had no scripture for support at the time. I agree it is the toughest funeral one will ever face.

    Over the years, I have found that simple answers now, as dealing with a child asking about the hard questions, will suffice. Go back in three weeks. That is when people hurt the most. All others have abandoned them and they don't know what to say.

    Be frank and let them do most of the talking; just be available. Let them talk all they want about the child. They must do this; they must.

    God bless you brother, and give you patience and wisdom as you do that most unbearable duty under God.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. MissAbbyIFBaptist

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    I don't know why things happen. I had a young girl, who is very shy, who just got saved ask me why did God let her mother die. I asked the same thing about my mother leaving. My pastor's daughter had four miscarrages and is so bitter becuase she dosn't know why God won't let her have a child. And it's times like these that I wish there were real easy answers.
    But I attended a revival recently and the preacher preached one night on trusting God. He mentioned preaching a funeral for a family in his church who lost a baby. They asked him the same question. He simply answerd: "I don't know.But I do know God's plan is perfect, and things work out for His glory." He said we often don't understand why something happens, but God's word calls on us to trust Him {Proverbs 3:5 and 6} and in Isiah there are verses talking about GOd's thoughts not being our thoughts and His ways not being our ways. God sees that whole picture, while we don't even know if we have another moment. My pastor once said that it was good that we never knew our future becuase if we saw the trials we would face, we wouldn't want to go any further.
    Pastor Bob, I don't know tommorrow. I don't know why that precious child died. But I know who holds our future and I know who holds our life. And the same God that allowed that to happen can use that for His glory. I know that woman will not want to hear that. She probably isn't ready to hear that yet. But you know, God might even use this for her to get saved. Go back later. Offer your assistance. If they need something done help them. Comfort them. Be upfront with them when you speak. PRAY PRAY AND PRAY before you go see them. You won't get anywere without God's help. Pray God would work in her lfie and that she would be receptive to the gospel. That God would convict her. Just show love to that family. That's what people need most. Sometimes a smile or a word of encouragement can change a persons day.
    I know I'm not that bright. I don't know much, but the Lord does, and if you'll seek His help, He won't lead you astray.
    I hope everything works out with this family. I'll be praying for you and them both.
    ~Abby [​IMG]
     
  4. dianetavegia

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    The only thing I could suggest, Pastor Bob, is to remind her that God knows exactly how she feels because he lost his son to an earthly death too.

    The news last night said that 6 people die every day of the year in swimming pools in America. That's no help to this lady but might help later, WHEN she begins to blame herself.

    I think it's wonderful you were there and I agree with Jim1999. She's going to need you when everyone else has 'gotten over this' and she's facing life without her child.

    God Bless,
    Diane

    Six people drown in U.S. pools every day. Many of these pools are public facilities staffed with certified professional lifeguards.

    Centers for Disease Control

    Drowning is the 4th leading cause of accidental death in the United States, claiming 4,000 lives annually. Approximately one-third are children under the age of 14.

    American Institute for Preventive Medicine

    Drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional, injury-related death among children under the age of 15.

    Youth Drownings
    A child can drown in the time it takes to answer a phone.

    U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

    19% of drowning deaths involving children occur in public pools with certified lifeguards present.

    Drowning Prevention Foundation

    A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the death of a child age 4 and under.

    Orange County California Fire Authority

    Children under five and adolescents between the ages of 15-24 have the highest drowning rates.

    American Academy of Pediatrics

    For every child who drowns, four are hospitalized for near drowning.

    American Academy of Pediatrics

    An estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized due to near-drownings each year; 15 percent die in the hospital and as many as 20 percent suffer severe, permanent neurological disability.

    Foundation for Aquatic Injury Prevention

    Of all preschoolers who drown, 70 percent are in the care of one or both parents at the time of the drowning and 75 percent are missing from sight for five minutes or less.

    Orange County, CA, Fire Authority

    In 10 states - Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington - drowning surpasses all other causes of death to children age 14 and under.

    Orange County, CA, Fire Authority
     
  5. Major B

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    The first funeral I ever preached was of a 2 1/2 year old girl who died during sexual abuse by her stepfather. I can't even describe how she died on this board. There I stood, looking at the coffin with Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger, and Barney stuffed toys, and this little blonde angel in the coffin. Then I turned, and except for an uncle and his wife, and for my mentor in the ministry who came to show support, the entire crowd (a large one) was unchurched and quite obviously (from their lifestyles and professions) lost. It was all I could do not to choke on the tears I was crying.

    I preached on Hebrews 9:26-28. I told them that there were no easy answers for why God let this happen, but that I had no doubts that this child was now safe in the Arms of God. I spoke of that love, and of that wonderful place, of the glorious present and eternal future this young lady now possessed. Then I turned to the family and I said, "What, then is your state? If you would see her again, there is a message you must hear..." and preached a gentle but straightforward salvation message. The grandfather was saved that week, and later on, I heard that other family members were as well. I still tear up when I think of that day.

    By the way, the perpetrator looked as if he was going to get off on a technicality because evidence was mishandled. While he was out on bail, he had a wreck while driving drunk and speeding. He literally flew over a house and landed face down in the yard. He lived, with nearly every bone broke, and CONSCIOUS, for three hours more. The county attorney said to me, "God did far more than we could have done..."
     
  6. Pastork

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    Actually, I just conducted the funeral for my three month old nephew last week, so I know exactly how difficult this must have been for you. :(
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    That's why Romans 8 is in the book. We have a God who only does what is best for us . . not what WE think is best, but what HE knows is best and plans it all.

    Sovereignty of God is probably the most heart-lifting doctrine ever NOT taught in our churches!
     
  8. SaggyWoman

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    The death of children is, by all stretches, untimely, unexpected, and very hard to deal with.

    Sometimes it is just hard to celebrate our loss.

    I attended several children's funerals over the years. One was a ten year old who died from cancer (brain tumor). The child was a Christian.

    Another child was 20 and had the mental age of about 4. She loved Jesus, too.

    Both funerals were celebrations of life that God had shared through these children.
     
  9. Major B

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    Dr. Bob,

    I teach the Sovereignty of God, and when I was a pastor, I taught on it--which is one of several reasons I am no longer a pastor...(along with teaching on sanctification, opposing sin, teaching on true worship...)
     
  10. Karen

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    My middle child would be 14 now if he had lived.
    She doesn't need explanations as much as she just needs you to listen and for her to know that you care. It is true that 3 or so weeks from now she will both feel the reality more keenly and people will expect her to be "getting back to normal".
    So following up with short visits for a number of months is a good thing.

    Better to say nothing than to say some of the things that are often said, such as, "God needed another little angel." Nathan, the prophet, always comes to mind.

    Diane's well-meant suggestion about pointing out how many people die daily from drowning msy have the unintended effect of increasing despair, because then it seems like life is just mindless chance.

    Karen
     
  11. Pastor_Bob

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    Thank you all for your remarks. The graveside servive is at 11:00 AM CST this morning. I would appreciate your prayers regarding this matter.

    Thanks again,

    Pastor Bob
     
  12. Gina B

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    I'm praying for her peace.
    I don't know any answers. I don't think there IS one, we just don't know. We have to come to peace with not knowing every answer.
    Walking my daughter into the cancer unit and into heart surgeons has presented me with having to deal with the thought of "God might take her home". I've prepared for it as best as one could since I don't know what she has yet or what the outcome of all this will be.
    I don't understand why, but I don't really question it that much either, it just is.
    But...what does help is if people listen when I want to talk.
    I'm sure that's the best you can do for her now too. If you don't have the answer don't try to give it because it will only make things worse. Don't chide her for being angry or upset or hint that if she was a better Christian she would deal with it better, and it's VERY easy to unintentionally do that. Let her know you're there for her, to listen to her, and also know when to leave her alone. If she isn't responding to you and you're not sure tell her not to be afraid to tell you she wants to be left alone, some people won't because they don't want to be rude. That's personally how I am most of the time with intense grief. I appreciate you telling me you're there for me, but if I don't ask you specifically to talk then the best thing you can do is stay away from me and let me work through it on my own.
    Everyone's different though. Figure out what she needs, offer it if you can, and remember that you do NOT have all the answers and you're not REQUIRED to have all the answers, so don't feel guilty or like you failed if you don't. Even if you DID have the answer to why it wouldn't be adequate. In a parents view there is never a good enough reason to have a child taken from you.
    Gina
     
  13. WillRain

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    If I may be so bold, not having been in this situation - and certainly without deminishing the soverignty issue - it might be well to correct the notion that God "took" her.

    God does take in that he allows disasterous things to ocur without intervening, but that is neither the common useage or what people mean when they say "Why did God take my child?"

    Sovrign or not, God did not ativly decide, IMO, to cause circumstances to occur in which the child would die, he merely chose not to prevent them. For his own purposes.

    But, more to the point, once it's established that God simply failed to stop it for whatever reason, the natural next question is "Why did he not stop it?"
    To which I would answer: "Why did he not stop 9/11?"
    "Why did he not stop Columbia from going down?"
    Why did he not stop the car wreck that killed Uncle Joe?"
    "Why did he not stop me getting laid off?"

    And so forth. The point being, if God is not going to stop EVERY bad thing, then we have to trust his judgement in regards to what he does and does not "fix."

    Also - and this I have shared with a person with a similar question:

    A man once said to me he would not trust God because his 13 year old daughter had been "taken" some years ago and he was still mad. My question to him was this...
    Was it better that the girl live longer than he did and she dies a Christian and he an unbeliever and they be seperated forever, or is it better that she die early and he know God because of it and they be seperated for only 50 years or so and then together for eternity?

    The man died last week and AFAIK never made that decision for Christ.
     

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