“What if all this stuff about Heaven and Hell is true? What if I have no reason to believe my child knew anything about Jesus. What if I failed to tell my child the most important thing in all the world? What if my child is now eternally lost? How can I ever live with such a possibility? How could Heaven be bliss for me without my child?
How could God let this happen?”
Our son, Hans, had his faults. Like you and like me, he was a sinner.
For all have sinned,
and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10)
However, Hans was saved–he was a Christian–one who has placed his trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. As a little boy, Hans was saved from the penalty and power of sin and was assured of a place in Heaven based on his faith in Jesus’ substitutionary death, burial and resurrection. So, when we say we will see him again, our level of assurance is quite high.
But what about the parent who does not have that assurance? What about the parent who is not sure at all?
Perhaps you are thinking: What if all this stuff about Heaven and Hell is true? I have no reason to believe my child knew anything about Jesus. What if I failed to tell my child the most important thing in all the world? What if my child is now eternally lost? How can I ever live with such a possibility? How could Heaven be bliss for me without my child?
How could God let this happen?
Here is what you must hold on to:
God is good.
God is love.
God makes no mistakes.
If we do not believe these facts about God, we are sunk. The pain is just too much to bear unless we trust the Lord God Almighty. Here are a few more facts:
God loves children. Pre-born people, people born with limited mental capacity, infants, and young children who are not yet of sufficient age as to be held accountable for their actions are safe. When they die, they go to be with the Lord in Heaven.
And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16)
But now he [King David’s infant son] is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. (2 Samuel 12:23)
But what about those who trusted Christ as children but then go on to live a wayward life? This is more difficult. If they were truly born again, they are eternally secure in their salvation and nothing can snatch them from the Father’s hand.
But, there is also the possibility the child’s profession of faith was not authentic. If that is the case, our only recourse is to trust God for whatever outcome He has ordained. We can have confidence that we will be in full accord with His will when we see Him face to face. To a grieving parent, this does not set well at all. Everything in us screams NO! to such a possibility. But, we cannot alter the past. We must commit our child to God’s perfect will.
God is good and always does right in what He directly causes or what He allows through subordinate agents – that includes the life and death of our children. I don’t pretend to understand some of the horror that is permitted to take place in this world other than to say that sin, sickness, death, pain and evil are facts of the fallen creation.
But, God absolutely knows what He is doing and I will not waste time and dishonor Him by questioning His kindness or His wisdom. God is lovingly omniscient and has the right and the power to direct His universe the way He sees fit; we do not need to understand.
And so we must trust Him. Where else is there to turn? We must leave it with the Lord and ask Him to grant us peace. There is nothing else.
God is merciful. The thief who was crucified on a cross beside the Lord Jesus believed Jesus was Who He said He was – King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The thief knew he was a sinner deserving death and called Jesus Lord. No special prayer, no good works, not much time to do anything other than believe. The worst sinner in the world can, while taking his last breath, cry out to God from his heart for mercy.
And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:39-43)
Unless you were with your child one-hundred per-cent of the time throughout his whole life, you cannot know for sure if he heard and believed the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus, or not. Unbeknownst to you, your child could have heard about Jesus from a tract, a radio broadcast, a Facebook post, a Bible verse scrawled on a wall, a sign held up at a football game, a billboard, or while standing in line at McDonald’s.
God does not take pleasure in sending people to Hell.
As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked;
but that the wicked turn from his way and live: (Ezekial 33:11)
God is just. Our children are in the hands of a righteous judge. If we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will be overjoyed with whatever we find when we finally enter eternity. We will see things with God’s eyes. We will understand His purposes. We will be in perfect agreement with his sovereign will. There will be no sorrow, no tears, no grieving. We will say, yes, Lord, I see it now. We will praise Him for His righteous wisdom and lovingkindness. We will have peace.
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
yea, our God is merciful. (Psalm 116:5)
…he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. (Psalm 112:4)
But let him that glorieth glory in this,
that he understandeth and knoweth me,
that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness,
judgment, and righteousness, in the earth:
for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:24)
So, while I am quite certain I will see Hans again, I can only be certain up to a point. I cannot see into Hans’ heart the way God can. I cannot know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, his profession of faith was authentic. I can look at Hans’ life; I can remember his words and what he told us he believed, but I can only be one hundred per cent certain of my own salvation.
Likewise, you cannot be one hundred per cent certain that your child is eternally lost. Not knowing for sure, you will suffer. But there is hope. And there is God. The God you can trust.
Even with this.
Trust in him at all times; ye people,
pour out your heart before him:
God is a refuge for us. Selah.