Why does a loving and caring God allow Christians to suffer or die?
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.
Death is one of the facts of the human experience in this life about which many questions have been asked. For example, questions have been asked about the origin of death, what causes death and why no cure has been found that would prevent human beings from dying. These questions have been asked since the dawn of human civilisation but no satisfactory answers have been given. Death thus remains to this day, the one mystery about human life that is unexplainable.
Like all other human beings, Christians have asked why a loving God would allow Christians to suffer and to die. In some cases, some Christians have suffered from some diseases and have finally died. This is in spite of the fact they themselves, as well as other Christians, have prayed for them to be miraculously healed. As I write this blog, I am preparing to take the funeral services of two godly Christian women who died last month. Their death occurred within three days of each other.
While trying to make sense of the death of the two sisters I noted above, I was shocked to hear about the death of one Dr Nabeel Qureshi this year. He was only 34 years of age and had suffered from stomach cancer for one year. Dr Quereshi was a medical doctor and a Muslim convert to Christianity, who within a decade after his conversion became a renowned Christian apologist who debated Muslim scholars around the world on some of the key doctrines of Christianity such as the Deity of Jesus, Trinity, Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection etc.
God does heal and even restores dead people to their families and loved one again (Acts 9:36-42). However, God also allows Christians to die after they have been sick for a long time. Dr Qureshi himself had prayed for divine healing himself alongside thousands, if not millions of Christians around the world for him to continue to preach the gospel to the millions of people who are yet to hear the gospel. Sadly, he went to be with the Lord on Saturday, 16th September 2017. At the funeral of Dr Nabeel, the senior pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church, Greg Mott had this to say,
“then the music would begin and Nabeel would raise his hands to begin worshipping … his hands were raised and saying, Lord, I praise you and when I think about that, that was his heart. He was always reaching for truth, he was always reaching for heaven and it’s almost as if the Lord just recently just grabbed that outreached hand and just pulled him on up to heaven and took him home.”
Can we question God, can we question why he heals some but allows others to die? We cannot because he is sovereign (Psalm 135:6; Daniel 4:35; Romans 9:19-21; Romans 11:34 etc). Here in these texts of the Bible, we are taught that God answers to no one but all people answer to him – God does what pleases him.
As a Christian, I would like to share a few thoughts about the mystery of death with you from the Bible. These thoughts are meant to help you think about death from a biblical standpoint in order that you will prepare for it yourself. Firstly, death is the direct consequence of the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve (Genesis 2: 17; Romans 5: 12). Owing to the fact that we have become so used to the experience of death and it is hard to think about a world without death, the Bible teaches that it is the direct outcome of sin. Secondly, every human being, apart from those who will be living when Jesus returns a second time to this earth, will die (1 Kings 2:2: Hebrews 9: 27). Thirdly, both Christians and non-Christians finally die (James 5:13; Philippians 2:26-28; 1Timothy 5:23). Fourthly, there is hope of being with Jesus in heaven after death for the Christian (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Hebrews 2:14).
Finally, having heard what the Bible says, I would like to entreat you to think about what Jesus came to do and to give your life to him so that you can have a hope of seeing God after you die. Will you do so? Please do it now while you have life in you as tomorrow may be too late for you.