Any question regarding children tends to be more emotional and seemingly unanswerable due to our very strong attachment to those little human beings who provide us so much joy and love. However, we must be disciplined to answer this question in the same fundamental way we would answer the question, “why does God allow suffering & sickness in the life of people?”
1) When people ask why God doesn’t prevent children from suffering or having disease ultimately a person has to ask, “To what age should children be indestructible?” Would God be obligated to totally insulate and protect children from suffering or disease until they are one year old? 6 years old? 15 years old? 21 years old? Think about this scenario, “What would it be like to live with or parent children who would be “indestructible”? Theoretically, children could do anything they wanted and be insulated from the cause & effect. Children could jump in front of moving trains or drink poison to impress their friends or defy their parents. Parents would no longer need to exercise good parental control because it would be unnecessary. Remember, natural laws have to work with regularity for actions to mean anything at all.
2) In a fallen-world where human beings have free-will God cannot intervene with every single instance of disease and/or suffering. God would have to stop the biological processes in human beings. God would have to change the genetic make-up or the genetic flaw that is latent within each single person in humanity. God would have to supernaturally reach in and stop the spread of disease whether that would require Him to stop people drinking water, touching other people, etc. In his book entitled, The Many Faces of Evil, Dr. John Feinberg makes this observation, “because of the fall there are negative consequences for the natural order…in a fallen world people die as God said they would, and if they are going to die, they must die of something. One of the causes of death is disease. Some of these diseases may be contracted early in life and others may arise only later. Some diseases may kill slowly while others kill quickly. Some diseases are genetically based, while other result from germs in our world.”
3) Ultimately, death is going to face every single person. Every single person will die as a result of murder, accident or disease. There are no exceptions! Although we think that God should deal with the death of children fundamentally different, there really is no philosophically difference for how God should deal with adults versus children. Ultimately, God will refuse to step in and prevent the physical death of people. We want to control the timing of this and/or choose the exact method of our death but this would require God to regularly suspend the laws of nature—which would render life on earth absurd.
4) There is no debating the heartache and shock that people feel as they witness the pain and suffering of children. Jesus witnessed many situations where He felt the trauma of children facing illness & disease. Like Jesus—we are placed into less-than-perfect situations so that we can express compassion, kindness and faith in the presence of God (2 Corinthians 1:3,4).