A black and white close-up portrait, capturing a tearful gaze against a stormy backdrop, symbolizing the pain and searching for answers when God takes our loved ones.

Why Does God Take Our Loved Ones?

The loss of a loved one is one of the most painful experiences anyone can go through. When someone we love dies, especially when they are taken from us unexpectedly, it can leave us feeling devastated, angry and searching for answers. “Why would God allow this to happen?” we might ask.

“Why does God take our loved ones away?”

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: God does not actively take our loved ones from us, but allows death and suffering as part of living in a fallen, imperfect world. However, He promises eternal life to those who put their faith in Christ, so our loved ones are not lost forever.

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at some of the theological explanations for why God allows death and loss in our lives. We’ll cover topics like God’s sovereignty, the problem of evil, the purpose of suffering, and the hope of eternal life.

This difficult subject requires compassion and care as we seek to understand and process our grief.

God’s Sovereignty Over Life and Death

God is in control, even when it doesn’t feel like it

When a loved one dies unexpectedly, it can feel like life is out of control. We wonder why God would allow such tragedy and heartbreak. But the Bible reminds us that God is on His throne, reigning over all things (Psalm 103:19).

Nothing happens outside of His sovereign will, even when we can’t understand it. We walk by faith, trusting that God is working all things for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).

Human life has an expiration date in a fallen world

Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, decay and death have been the reality for all humankind (Genesis 3:19; Romans 5:12). Our bodies and minds deteriorate with time. Accidents and illnesses claim lives prematurely. This is the unfortunate but inevitable result of living in a fallen, sin-cursed world.

As Hebrews 9:27 reminds us, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” Death will come for us all, but the good news is that judgment leads to eternal life for those who trust in Christ.

God’s timing is different than ours

We wish our loved ones could live on this earth forever. Every birthday and holiday spent without them feels like an injustice. But God operates on a different timeline, according to His perfect plan and purposes.

As 2 Peter 3:8 explains, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” What feels painfully slow or woefully quick to us is aligned perfectly in God’s sovereign vision. One day we will stand before God and understand why our loved ones passed when they did.

For now, we walk by faith in the all-knowing, eternal God who does all things well in His timing (Isaiah 25:1).

The Problem of Evil and Suffering

We live in a fallen, broken world

It is an unfortunate yet undeniable truth that we live in a fallen and broken world filled with suffering and evil. When God first created the world, it was perfect and free from sin, pain, and death (Genesis 1:31).

However, through the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the world and corrupted all of creation (Genesis 3:6-7). The world we live in today is under the curse of sin, and as a result, it is full of natural disasters, illnesses, evil acts, and tragic losses of innocent life.

Living in this broken, fallen world means that suffering is inevitable for all people to some extent.

Evil and suffering are the results of sin

While God is not the author or originator of evil, He did give human beings free will, which allowed for the possibility of sin, evil, and suffering (Genesis 2:16-17). When mankind chose to rebel against God, we ushered in all the pain, tragedy, cruelty, and heartache that fills our world today.

Natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, and diseases are ultimately the result of sin corrupting God’s good creation. Likewise, moral evils like murder, theft, and deception stem from man’s capacity for wickedness and the evil powers present in this fallen world.

God is not to blame for the existence of evil, but it is a tragic byproduct of the sinful misuse of our free will.

God allows but does not cause evil

While God is sovereign over all things, He does not cause evil or directly bring about suffering and loss. Rather, in His wisdom, He chooses at times to allow evil and suffering, using them to accomplish His sovereign purposes (Isaiah 45:7, Amos 3:6).

For example, Joseph went through terrible tragedies like betrayal, false accusation, and unjust imprisonment, but later declared that what man intended for evil, God used for good (Genesis 50:20). God remains in control amidst any evil, disaster, or tragedy, working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

He allows but does not originate the evil in this world, and He is able to powerfully accomplish His plan despite all opposition.

The Purposes of Suffering

Suffering refines and transforms us

Suffering can serve to refine our character and transform us into the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29). As painful as suffering can be, God often uses it to scrub away the dirt, grime and impurities in our lives – the traits that separate us from Him (Isaiah 48:10).

Suffering helps reveal our true selves, exposing our weaknesses, flaws, sins and need for God. It humbles us and aids in the process of sanctification. Just as metal is purified by fire or gold tested through heat, suffering burns away the dross in our lives.

While the process can be profoundly difficult, the end result is radical transformation into purity, beauty and Christlikeness.

It helps us rely on and find comfort in God

Times of suffering drive us to depend on God like nothing else can. Pain, grief and turmoil tend to strip away our illusions of self-sufficiency, exposing our helplessness and need for God. This drives us to prayer, Scripture meditation and worship.

And it is there, in the presence of God, that we find supernatural comfort, peace, strength, and courage (Psalms 23:4). We discover a Father who loves us unconditionally. We experience the quiet presence of the Holy Spirit sustaining us in our pain.

And we begin to sense, even if ever so faintly, the purpose behind our suffering.

Let’s reference two great verses that illustrate this:

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Psalm 46:1 declares, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

It allows us to minister to others

As mentioned in 2 Corinthians 1:4, sometimes God allows suffering so that we can in turn comfort others. There is profound purpose in pain. Perhaps God is shaping you into a bereavement counselor for grieving children. Maybe your cancer battle is preparation for ministering to hospital patients.

Or maybe your experience with depression allows you to empathize with the lonely like no one else can.

Often our most powerful testimony and ministry emerges from our deepest wounds. As we receive comfort from God in our agony, that comfort becomes a healing balm we can pour into the lives of others. The body of Christ was designed to bind up wounds together (Colossians 2:2, Galatians 6:2).

As we suffer, we become vessels God uses to bring comfort, hope and healing to those around us. Our suffering equips us to alleviate the suffering of others – both now and for eternity.

The Hope of Eternal Life

Death is not the end for believers

For those who have faith in Christ, death is not something to fear, but rather a passage to eternal life with God (John 11:25). When our believing loved ones pass away, we can be confident that they are not truly gone, but have entered into God’s presence where there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).

As Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). Death only has power over the physical body, not the soul which lives forever. So we do not need to grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Our loved ones are not lost, but with Christ

It can be painful when death takes a believing loved one out of our earthly lives. But we can find comfort in knowing their spirits are not lost or wandering, but immediately enter into heavenly paradise with Christ (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23).

Imagine the incredible joy they are experiencing in God’s presence! As the apostle Paul said, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Philippians 1:23). Our loved ones who died in faith are enjoying a far better existence than this fallen world could ever offer.

They are not to be pitied, but envied for gaining their eternal inheritance (Revelation 21:7).

We will be reunited in eternal life

Not only do our loved ones now dwell with Christ, but one day we who believe will join them. While death grieviously severs earthly relationships, it cannot break the eternal bonds between believers. We can joyfully anticipate a grand reunion with loved ones when Christ returns to make all things new (Revelation 21:5).

Imagine the celebration as we embrace again, free from sorrows, tears, pain and death itself (Revelation 21:4). What a glorious future we have to look forward to! As Paul says, “We do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Because of Christ’s resurrection, death does not have the final say. Our grief is temporary. Eternal life and joy with loved ones awaits all in Christ.


Losing someone we love is incredibly painful. In our grief, we may struggle to understand why God would allow such sorrow and loss. While we may not fully comprehend God’s ways, we can find comfort knowing He is sovereign, loving, and just. He allows suffering, but not without purpose.

And for those who put their faith in Christ, death does not have the final say. We can have hope of being reunited for eternity with our loved ones who died in Christ. As we mourn, may God grant us His peace and understanding that passes all knowledge. If you are grieving, you are not alone.

May God carry you through this difficult season and point you towards the eternal hope we have in Him.

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