Two of our three children were born with Congenital Hyperinsulinism, a rare genetic disorder of the pancreas, that causes blood sugar to constantly bottom out to dangerously low levels. Shortly after birth they each received a 98% pancreatectomy, and they are now dependent on insulin to keep blood glucose stable. I suppose you could say they are “surgically-induced diabetics.” Needless to say, for the past 12 years our home has been filled with many finger pricks and insulin shots.
Our house has also been filled with many questions: Why do I have to get shots and my brother doesn’t? Will I die from this? Why did God make me with diabetes? Such questions have forced us to broach theological concepts many Christian parents do not have to deal with. Such concepts include, but are not limited to, sin’s curse, God’s sovereignty, and God’s provision. Here are five biblical principles we regularly rehearse in various ways with our children throughout this trial of childhood disease.
1. Most Children Throughout the History of Humanity Have Faced Hard Times
The situation of even the poorest children in modern day America is better than children all around the world; modern conveniences such as running water and electricity is unknown to the vast majority of children. The truth is, my children get to have insulin shots; they get to have surgery; they get to live with diabetes. 100 years ago, children with their condition would have died a few days after birth. In His providence, God has seen fit that they live at this time and in this country. Their disease is a result of the Fall in Eden, but their opportunities for a productive life is a blessing from God.
Let’s Get Practical: The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reports that “2.2 billion people don’t have access to safe drinking water.” That’s about 1 in 4. To help your child understand the importance of clean water, walk them through the kitchen pantry and bathroom, and talk to them about all the things that require clean water (making mac and cheese, washing hands, brushing teeth, etc).
Perspective is important. Knowing of and sympathizing with the plight of others encourages us to be more thankful for our situation. But, such knowledge might also cause a child to question God’s love for those who have a more severe situation. That’s why this next topic is important.
2. God Is Not the Author of Your Problems—He is the Answer
Ultimately, the existence of evil and misery in this life goes back to man’s disobedience (Genesis 3:17). God is not responsible for the curse. Man is. God is the answer in the midst of our brokenness, and this answer is found ultimately in Jesus who became cursed to redeem those who are cursed (Galatians 3:13).
We often casually throw out the words Lord and Savior, but these should not just be empty words we say at church. Savior is a vital name of Christ for dealing with the problem of evil. When we call Him Savior, we acknowledge that he is the answer for our sin-cursed situation. When we look around at our own problems and the desperate situation of others we will either ask, “God, how could You let this happen?” or declare, “God, You are the only hope for the world!” That is why we must allow Scripture to permeate our perspective, rather than the bad news this world has to offer. When we inundate our minds with negativity on social media and 24-hour news channels, it’s easy to lose focus on Christ as Savior, the answer for our problems.
Let’s Get Practical: Read through these many verses with your children and talk about Christ, the answer.
3. God Never Promised a Trouble-Free Life—He Promised His Presence
Often parents try to shield their children from every problem. As parents, we run ahead and remove every obstacle from their path—a difficult teacher, a challenging science project, a neighborhood bully—to provide an easy life for our children. This is a noble desire, but it paints an unrealistic picture of what life is really like. When Christ was about to leave this world, He made a frightening promise to his disciples: “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). Christ did not hold back from this reality, and when it comes to our children, we should not either.
Not only did Christ promise trouble, He also promised his presence: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Christ promised that the Father would send the Comforter who would aid His followers and be with them forever (John 14:16).
4. God’s Knows Everything About You and Nothing Takes Him by Surprise
It’s easy for children to see God as a deity that is far off in Heaven; children should have a serious view of God, but they must also come to realize that God is also concerned with the intimate details of our life. Christ’s teachings to His disciples recorded in Matthew 10 present God as a powerful judge who has the right and power to execute judgment on every man (verse 28). This is a fearful image of God’s transcendent nature. And yet, in the very next verses, we find His immanence displayed as the Careful Caretaker of the smallest animals of creation (verse 29) and the One who knows the number of hairs on the head every person (verse 30).
God did not just create the world with the power of His voice; He also knows the whereabouts of every creature great and small in His creation. He is not only the Lord of all kings and kingdoms; He is the Father to peasants and beggars. God not only designed the sophistications of the human mind and the intricacies of the human body, He knows all about diabetes, cancer, meningitis, pneumonia, and malaria. He is the Lord of the universe, and He knows everything about us!
Let’s Get Practical: Sit down with your child and tell them stories about their early childhood they have never heard (the crazier the details, the better). After a few stories, remind that God already knew those stories and He knows stories even we don’t know. He even knows the freckles on your cheeks and the number of hairs on your head. He especially knows your darkest fears and your deepest longings.
5. God is Always Good, Even When Things Are Not Equal
We’ve heard our children say it many times: “That’s not fair!” Most of the time, this is uttered when something is unequal. “His cake is bigger than mine. That’s not fair.” In some situations, it may be, “I have cancer and the other kids don’t. That’s not fair.” “That’s not equal” is what we really mean, because we often view fair and equal as equal. But God never promises that things will be equal.
God does not give spiritual gifts equally (1 Cor. 12:15-20). God allows different circumstances, even disease (John 9:1–12), to bring him glory. God saves some at a young age and others later in life (Mat. 27:38). God allows the rain to fall on everyone (Matthew 5:45), but some face more severe circumstances (Job 1). The situations you face in life may be unequal and different from the situations faced by others, but God is always good (Psalm 34:8, Romans 8:28, James 1:17, Nahum 1:7). He is good because he is holy and wise.
Conclusion I don’t know what your child is going through. Whether it is more or less severe than diabetes does not matter, because the same God who sustains us through diabetes will sustain your family through your unique trials. Look to the good, holy, and wise God who is the Answer for your problems. This God who knows everything about you and who is always fair will be with you through the trials.
- Daddy, Why Did God Let Me Have Diabetes? - February 3, 2021
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