Why does God allows children to suffer?

I saw this posted on someone’s facebook page. Note this person is anti-religion from what I can tell.
" Noone can sit at the bedside of a dying child and still believe in God."

How do people respond to comments that God allows suffering in innocent children?
I understand the concept of free-will and that God allows humans to choose how they treat each other, but how do you explain innocent children dying from a painful illness.

How can we come to the conclusion on how much some one deserves to suffer? Only God knows how much grace He gives to any one to endure suffering. People who blame God for children sufferings, usually complain just about anything else pretending to be more merciful than God Himself.

The person who posted that is simply wrong.

Lots of parents and people sit with dying children and do still believe in God.

Here is a link to an article by Peter Kreeft.

It is kind of lengthy but very good (as all of Kreeft’s stuff is).


Hope it helps.

If God should prevent children from suffering, shouldn’t he do the same for adults? For that matter, why does He let anyone suffer? I am always a bit saddened when people get mad at God because He doesn’t behave in the way they think He should. One should not presume to judge God’s actions.

Children suffering and dying speaks to the fragility of the human condition, especially the young, weak, elderly, impoverished or vulnerable ones. We can see that infant and childhood deaths have gone down because of advances that have been made in medicine and a lot of that has to do with God if you really think about it. The first hospitals were Catholic and many still are either Catholic or Christian so God has a lot to do with infant mortality going down. True it still happens but think about that the next time you hear ‘why does God allow children to suffer’. People always ask why God hasn’t done more when they should really think about all that God has done to save children. St. Jude Children’s hospital is a good example of that. God is working miracles over there.

" Noone can sit at the bedside of a dying child and still believe in God."

There are two big assumptions in that statement: God wills suffering and suffering has no purpose. As Catholics we know that suffering is not from God but from humanity’s own sins. Some suffering comes directly through our own sinful actions. Others, including most disease, came from the effects of original sin. God does not will us to suffer. Suffering was the natural effect of sin. Rather than blame God, they should blame our ancestors, Adam and Eve.

As to the other assumption, we believe in redemptive suffering, where offering up our suffering to God can somehow aid in our purification or the purification of others. We also believe that God can create good out of suffering in his own mysterious way. Perhaps a child’s suffering and death strengthens the living family and friends so much that a greater good occurs. Only God knows, so this requires a lot of trust in God. That only happens after years of faith and prayer. It is very hard to get a non-religious person to believe this. They have to believe in God first before they can begin to understand more complex things.

Well said.

You are also assuming that death is the greatest evil.
The child who dies goes home to the arms of Our Lord and Our Lady. Children who have had near death experiences have sometimes cried on their return, because their experience of heaven was so beautiful. It is hardest on the parents.


For me it is summed up by the word Freedom. Evil, or suffering enters the world through the actions of others, through our actions and as a consequence of being material beings in an imperfect material world. All of these are a consequence of freedom.

If God took away all ills from us, would we be any more than automatons? What would God be but a puppet master? When you have a problem with pain and suffering, look to the crucified Christ. He did not defeat evil by neutralizing it. He could have revealed himself in all his glory to Pilate and his accusers, they would not have crucified him. But he choose to triumph over evil by breaking it’s bonds. had God not gone through our pain and suffering himself, we might be justified in asking why he doesn’t eleminate suffering. As Christians we have accepted that God turns our pain into joy. Sometimes it is not an easy belief to hold on to, but for me it is the only thing that makes sense in this world. How else to cope with the inevitable suffering and death waiting for each of us except by holding on to the image of our crucified Lord.

I am someone that likes to ask questions with other questions. When a non-believer says something along the lines of “why does God allow suffering?” I like to ask him why God allows good. I’m just going to say you know a lot of these problems with starving kids and homeless kids and what not much of that is because we as Christians are not doing our job. I grew up rather poor and lived in the United States what we would call the ghetto. Yes there is suffering, but do you know something I have noticed about poverty? It seems that the impoverished do more to help each other than the wealthy do for them. I would ask first and foremost how this person even has the concept of suffering if there were not some basis for it to be and what how do we know what good is or evil is doesn’t there have to be something behind that?



I’ll just mention here that not only suffering, but death also - as we know and believe, is a consequence of sin.

With all the above we could then advance from the facebook post quoted in the OP -

" Noone can sit at the bedside of a dying child and still believe in God."

  • and logically predicate that since “Noone can sit at the bedside of a dying child and still believe in God” , then it must also be true that:

No one can sit at the bedside of a dying adult and still believe in God.

Otherwise belief in God would be not only relative,but also totally dependent on the age of another human being. Good luck with that - they would never be able to figure out at precisely what age of the other person that belief in God would/should cease to be a reality.:ouch:

I wonder which solution that person who posted on facebook had in mind ? . . .

*]Euthanize (kill) the child so that they no longer have tangible evidence of the child suffering.

*]Eradicate all death and suffering in the entire world.

Realistically, it rather looks as if they would only have the power to accomplish one of those two things - doesn’t it ?

One of the most disadvantageous times ever, to decide to not believe in God, would have to be at the deathbed of someone we loved . . . wouldn’t it ?

Why parents allow children to go under painful medical treatment?

If one sees the big picture this apparent and temporary evil has the goal to achieve a greater good.

The same can be said in relation to God and the permission of suffering (children and adults).

God promised to save our souls. We don’t know in detail how and what mechanisms this salvation involves.

But usually suffering children inspires faith in God and not the opposite.

Peter Kreeft wrote a good book called Making Sense Out Of Suffering. I recommend it.

From His perspective, we are all His children. From His perspective, the giant leap we imagine that transforms a child to an adult is just another baby-step.

Unless the kid ends up traumatized and haunted by PTSD and psychological issues stemming from these treatments in childhood for the rest of there life. In addition to developing an aversion to hospitals to the point where they refuse all future treatment for health issues as adults, even at the cost of there life. In which case, the “good” fix to a physical issue lead too great, irreparable harm psychologicaIly. As what happened with me. My family can only pray I don’t end up with cancer or some terrible illness because of i do, there will be no treatment. My choice is an early death.

Had the complete opposite effect on my family. Pushed my parent away from God.

I am sorry you had to go through all that as a child. I hope that through your faith and prayers, God will grant heal some healing of your psychological injuries. Choosing to forgo treatment with a terminal illness is within your right. There is no sin. I hope you do not have any guilt about this.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.