One of our neighbors for several years comes from the African country of Eritrea. We have enjoyed them as neighbors. They have had three children. Early on, as we got to get to know them and they observed our children, they mentioned their appreciation for their behavior many occasions. My younger daughters enjoyed playing with them in our court at different times. When their oldest, a boy, became of school age, he attended our school, Bethel Christian Academy. They have loved and supported our school. We have gotten together with them for one of our five week Bible studies. They have visited our church. Their background is Coptic Orthodox. The oldest, a boy, my wife teaches piano, and I had driven him to school along with my children until this year. This year, however, I drove their middle child, a boy, to school. Two years ago they were blessed with a baby girl.
About six months ago, their daughter couldn't walk straight and fell over, dizzy, and they knew something was wrong. They found that she had a very rare kind of brain tumor, until they finally discovered that it was the only thing like it that doctors had ever seen for someone her age. They operated to take out the tumor. They were successful and she went on chemotherapy. My daughters went over to play their violins for her when she was in the hospital in the city. Shortly thereafter, another tumor occurred in the same location. They operated to repair a shunt but they couldn't take the second tumor out, and she went into a coma. Along with my assistant pastor, on Thursday night I went to a hospice to pray for her and encourage them. The mother had a very vivid dream the night before that we prayed for her and she woke up from her coma. She may have woken up the next night, Friday, but not here. She woke up in glory with the Lord.
How do we explain little ones like this two year old dying of something like this brain tumor? I don't have an explanation. I don't know exactly what God's will is in this situation. I can go to the Bible, however, to find out some things that are absolutely true. First, God is a good God and everything from Him is good (James 1:17). Nothing is bad from Him.
Second, bad comes from us, from men, because of our sin. I don't think it was her sin per se that led to this death specifically, but all men are sinners and everyone is born with a sin nature, so we all die. It is appointed unto all of us (Hebrews 9:27). God did allow her death. That I know. We all die because God either causes it or allows. We don't even know which of the two it is. That's were there is the uncertainty. We also know that the sting of death is sin, but thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, that sin can be removed by His grace (1 Cor. 15:56, 57). Death without sin is like a graduation day. That's why the Bible says "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints" (Psalm 116:15). So even in death, we can see God's goodness.
Third, even though we don't know why this little one died, we do know that God is eternally loving, wise, and powerful. He could have done something to stop it, but He didn't. That means that what happened is the best. I can only say that because I'm trusting God. He deserves to be trusted. The truth is that we all really deserve far worse than we get, and it is only as good as it is because of His love, mercy, and grace. We can give God glory at these times by trusting in Him. It might be easier to trust Him when times are good, but these are supreme times to let God know that we believe in Him.
I haven't been perfect in this my entire life, but right now I have a lot of peace from my trust in Him, and I thank Him for it. I can pass that peace along to others. I could bring comfort and witness to this family. That would make me a peacemaker, for which I can rejoice in God. I know He knows the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is follow. He's my strength for today and He's mine alway, so all I need is to follow. I know I can count on Him, so I will, even if I can't explain every reason why.