The discussion led to sad news while visiting with dear friends before dropping off their daughter for the evening. “Nannygranne, did you see on Facebook that Roger’s taken a turn for the worse?
“Yes! I was so hoping that once he was on the ventilator that things would improve with his Covid.”
“Mommy, is Roger going to die?” Dana asked.
Not wanting to give her daughter false hope, her mother admitted, “Honey, he might, but we’re going to keep praying and trusting God to do what’s best.”
Then turning to Nannygranne, eyes pleading, Dana asked, “Why isn’t God making Roger well, Nannygranne?”Nannygranne’s heart skipped a beat. There was no way Dana could know she’d just asked the most haunting question of all believers. ‘If God is all good and God is all-powerful, then how can evil (or in this case, death) exist?’ Leaning closer to Dana, Nannygranne said, “Honey, God always answers our prayers for our good, but He doesn’t always say yes. And we aren’t as wise as God. If God knows that now is Roger’s time to die, God will see that he’s taken good care of because He made Roger. So we can trust God, right?”
Dana’s eyes fell to her hands in sadness, and the adults’ conversation continued, but Nannygranne knew she still had questions. After her mother left, she hoped Dana would want to talk more.
Later in the evening, after dinner, Nannygranne was clearing dishes, and Dana wanted to help. And, as hoped, Dana wanted to continue the conversation. “Nannygranne, Daddy said that Roger was a good man and deserved to get well. That’s why we needed to be praying for him. I think God should make him well.”
“Yes, Roger is a good man. Do we think God lets people die because they are bad?”
“I don’t know. Does He?” She handed Nannygranne a dish to rinse.
“Well, I’ve known kind grandparents, helpful nurses, mothers, and even children to die. They were good people. Then there are mean and dangerous people in prison who got Covid who didn’t die. So God must not decide according to good or bad. What do you think?”
As Dana put a bottle of ketchup in the refrigerator, she mulled over the information. “I guess that’s right.”
“I just remembered a time when Jesus was talking to his disciples about a tragedy that had happened to some of their neighbors. They were wondering if they’d been bad. Some had been murdered, and others had been killed when a building had collapsed on them. He told them it hadn’t happened because they were bad people. He said being good or bad won’t keep people from dying. He said we need to be ready when it’s our time to die.1 Unless Jesus comes first, we will all have to face death, and that’s why Jesus wants us to change and follow Him. And in addition to that, He helps us know how to live well.” 3
“Oh, I’d never heard that story,” Dana said. “Then how does God decide who to heal, then?”
“That’s an answer God hasn’t given us. Some answers we’re going to have to wait and ask when we see Him in His world. A good verse to memorize for times like this is Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”
Dana stopped and looked at her friend, “Then you don’t know if God will make Roger well.” Her tone had a hint of disappointment.
Nannygranne reached out her hand, taking Dana’s in her own. “No, Dana, I do not know God’s plans for Roger. But there are some things you and I do know for certain. God made you and me and Roger in His image. He’s always wanted Roger with Him. He knows all about all of us and knows how our bodies work. And God is love. Also, God respects our wishes. Only God knows what is between Him and Roger, and God will do what is best and right. God knows we want Roger to live. We will all come to our life’s exit door one day unless Jesus returns for us first. But each time someone stands at that exit door, it reminds us all to ask ourselves if we’re ready to meet Jesus. If Jesus comes before we die, we’ll have no more reminders. Let’s pray again for Roger, OK?”
With their hands together, they prayed for God to spare Roger’s life, especially if he needed more time to prepare to meet Jesus, and they prayed that God would heal the world of Covid and thanked Him for the reminder to be ready, too.
1 Luke 13:1-5
2 Hebrews 9:27
3 John 10:10