What if Jesus Christ is God, as He claimed, and you have no substantial reason to believe your child knew anything about Him or the Way of salvation? What if your child died while involved in sin? What if she emphatically rejected Jesus as her Savior?
What if you fear your departed child is now eternally lost? How will you ever live with such a possibility? What if all this stuff about Heaven and Hell is true? How could Heaven be bliss for you without your child? How could God let this happen?
If these are the fears of your heart, 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 of being unsure of where our child is spending eternity 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.
But what about those who trusted Christ as children but then go on to live in waywardness? Perhaps as little children they prayed to receive Jesus but later made poor choices that led to immorality, addiction, suicide or criminal behavior. This situation is more difficult. However, if they were truly born again in childhood, they are eternally secure in their salvation and nothing can snatch them from the Father’s hand. Nothing. Truly born-again children of God can not be separated from Him. A person who has the Holy Spirit of God living inside him cannot go to Hell.
But, even more difficult, there is also the possibility the child’s profession of faith was not authentic. The child repeated a prayer to please someone but their heart was not converted. There was no genuine faith in the Savior and the child was not in fact born again. If that is the case, again our only recourse is to trust God for whatever outcome He has ordained. As impossible as it may seem to us now, 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. Though a grieving mother’s heart recoils at leaving the question of her departed child’s eternal destiny in God’s hands, what choice do we have? The child is gone from our care. We cannot help or protect him anymore.
God loves the grieving parent. These are hard, hard words but as we, by His grace, yield to the Father’s loving sovereignty and follow hard after Him, He will comfort us with a sustaining peace that passes understanding. And He will do it. For He has promised us peace, perfect peace, as we keep our focus on Him.
This means spending time alone with Him in prayer and in His word. It means training ourselves to turn our minds from despairing doubts and fears and redirecting them to the greatness and goodness of God. We must immerse ourselves in Truth.
This supernatural, gracious, perfect peace of God in the heart of the grieving parent is the only way to endure the torment of wondering if the departed child (or loved one) is suffering a Christ-less eternity. There is no other remedy. We must follow Him wherever He leads us. Does this mean if we trust Him the pain will go away? No, the pain remains, but peace and pain can live together in the same heart, even a broken heart.
God is good and always does right in what He directly causes or what He allows through subordinate agents and secondary causes – 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, tears and pain are facts of the fallen creation. They are not good. But, despite the prevalence of evil, we must settle it in our minds that, whatever befalls us, whatever badness He allows at this time, God is good. Because if God is not good, there is no goodness ever anywhere in the universe or beyond. He is the source and standard for all that is good.
God knows what is best. He absolutely knows what He is doing, and it is best not to waste time nor dishonor Him by questioning His kindness and His wisdom. Child loss is hard enough without trying to do it without the God Who loves us. Our Father 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 vilest sinner in the world can, while taking his last breath, cry out to God from his heart for mercy.
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.
Unless you were with your child one hundred percent of the time throughout her whole life, you cannot know for sure if she heard and believed the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus or not. Unbeknownst to you, your child could have heard about and trusted Jesus from a crumpled tract in the street, a radio broadcast, a Facebook post, a grandparent, a Bible verse scrawled on a wall, a sign held up at a football game, a bumper sticker, a billboard, or while talking with someone in line at McDonald’s. I do not wish to propagate false hope. But, if there is any hope at all, even the smallest hope, I want you to have it.
And, while I have a very strong hope that I will see our son again when I get to Heaven, 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 in Jesus as his Savior from sin 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 percent 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.
If your child is in Heaven, make sure you will be there, too. Here’s several links that may help: