A somber black-and-white image captures a lone rose, wilting in a ray of light, symbolizing the unanswered question of why God seemingly chooses to take the best souls before their time.

Why Does God Take The Good Ones First?

The loss of a good person always raises the painful question – why did God allow this? If God is just and loving, why does He let bad things happen to good people?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Though we may not fully understand God’s ways, Scripture teaches that He has good purposes for everything He allows, even death. As hard as it is, we can choose to trust Him in our grief.

In this article, we’ll explore several perspectives on this age-old question about God’s goodness in the face of tragedy:

God’s Sovereignty Over Life and Death

All life comes from God

As the all-powerful Creator, God is the ultimate source and sustainer of all life (gotquestions.org). Both in the womb and in the tomb, we are always in the hands of our Maker. Every breath we take is a gracious gift from the Lord Almighty (Job 12:10).

Though life’s fragility often perplexes us, we can anchor our hearts to God’s sovereign care. Even amid grief, we declare with Job, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21).

God decides the right time for each person

Only an all-knowing God can determine the perfect lifespan for each person He creates. Every life and death occur according to His divine timetable, though the reasons for His precise timing often surpass human understanding.

As Moses proclaimed in Psalm 90:12, we eagerly number our days to gain wise hearts. Though we wish for more years with loved ones on earth, their days are fulfilled according to the Lord’s purposes.

Statistical data shows the range of lifespans keeps increasing with medical advancements. However, only God holds the boundary of our appointed times in His hands.

1900: Average life expectancy: 47 years
1950: Average life expectancy: 68 years
2022: Average life expectancy: 80 years

His timing is purposeful, though mysterious

Even when sudden, untimely loss perplexes us, we know God remains perfectly faithful. His ways and thoughts always transcend our finite human understanding (Isaiah 55:8-9). Yet Scripture urges us to anchor our hearts in the assurance that our lives and lengths of days serve His wise, loving purposes in ways we cannot yet grasp.

As Charles Spurgeon (azquotes.com) quipped, “What God permits, He permits for a reason.” Often it is only eternity that fully unveils why God called a loved one home “too soon” by earthly standards. Yet in glory’s light, the tapestry of His wise plan shines beautifully.

Though now we see dimly, even grief submits to His good providence (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Death Can Have Good Purposes

It ends suffering and ushers believers into God’s presence

For those struggling with long-term illness or chronic pain, death provides a release as their suffering ends and they transition into the joy and peace of God’s presence (Revelation 21:4). Believers can take comfort in knowing that to be “away from the body” is to be “home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

This hope helps make even tragic young deaths bearable for Christians.

It allows others to grow

The loss of a righteous person can motivate others towards spiritual growth and good deeds. For example, many young people tragically lose parents. While emotionally devastating, this may lead them to mature quickly, cherish relationships more, and lean harder into God (James 1:27).

The death of admired role models like Martin Luther King Jr. inspired civil rights reform. So while death brings acute pain, it ultimately advances God’s purposes.

It draws people to Christ

The grieving process often makes people evaluate life’s purpose and meaning. A recent study found that 32% of grieving Americans strengthen their religious faith. Watching Christians face death with grace, dignity, and hope attracts others to the gospel.

The redemptive power of death opening hearts to Jesus was captured in the vision of Heaven-bound believer welcoming newcomers in C.S. Lewis’ classic The Great Divorce.

We Live in a Fallen World

Life in this world can be incredibly difficult and painful at times. Sickness, tragedy, evil, and death are constant reminders that things are not the way they are supposed to be. The Bible tells us that we live in a fallen world – one that has been corrupted by sin ever since the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).

The presence of sin and evil affects every aspect of life on this earth and is the root cause of so much suffering and heartache.

Sin and Evil Cause Death and Suffering

Humanity’s rebellion against God opened the door for sin and evil to enter the human heart. The Bible teaches that all people have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3:23). The effects of sin are pervasive – bringing violence, greed, pride, injustice, addiction, racism, sickness, natural disasters and so much pain into the world.

Ultimately, sin leads to physical and spiritual death (Romans 6:23). If that was not bad enough, Satan and his demons are constantly working in this fallen world to tempt people, foster evil, and destroy lives.

These realities cause immense suffering for human beings – as innocent lives are destroyed or cut tragically short. For example, over 10 million children under the age of 5 die every year worldwide, mostly from preventable causes like malnutrition, malaria and pneumonia (UNICEF).

Even faithful followers of Jesus are not immune to the effects of living in a fallen world. Christians fall ill and die, they experience tragedy, and their lives are touched by evil. But they cling to the hope that God has ultimate authority over evil and will one day make all things right.

God Will Defeat Evil and Renew Creation One Day

Despite the brokenness of this fallen world, the Bible gives us an amazing hope. God promises that He will one day thoroughly defeat evil, sin and death and usher in a new world of righteousness, peace and life (Revelation 21:1-5).

On that glorious day, God will wipe every tear from people’s eyes, remove all suffering and pain, and make all things new (Revelation 21:4-5). What an incredible truth for weary souls.

This was made possible when Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for humanity’s sins and rose again in victory over death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). All who put their faith in Him can look forward to eternal life in God’s presence, free from all effects of the fall (John 3:16).

For now, followers of Jesus are called to be lights of hope in this dark world, bringing comfort to the hurting and the hope of Christ to the lost.

Maintaining Faith Through Grief

God comforts those who mourn

When we experience the loss of a loved one, it can feel like our world is crashing down. Grief can overwhelm us with sadness and leave us feeling alone. Yet in these difficult times, God reminds us that He is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).

Though weeping may last for a night, joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

God cares deeply about our pain. He promises to be a father to the fatherless and defend the cause of the widow (Psalm 68:5). He collects our tears in a bottle and records our sorrows in His book (Psalm 56:8). We can cast all our anxiety on Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

The Lord comforts us through His Word, His Spirit, and His people. Reading the Bible gives us hope and reassurance of God’s love. The Holy Spirit binds up our wounds with His gentle touch. Fellow believers can provide a listening ear, practical help, and encouragement.

Though grief may linger, we have an ever-present Helper who will see us through.

We can still praise God in our sorrow

Even when grief threatens to overwhelm us, we can still lift our voices in praise to God. Though we do not understand His ways, we know His character is good. He is love, He is just, He is merciful. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases (Lamentations 3:22).

He is working all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

In the Psalms, David poured out his grief openly before God. Yet in the midst of despair, he voiced trust. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation” (Psalm 42:11).

Like David, we can cling to the hope that one day “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 21:4).

Though weeping endures, God is worthy of praise at all times (Psalm 34:1). Even when we do not feel like worshipping, we can cry out to Him. He receives our honest cries as a fragrant offering. As we fix our eyes on Jesus, He will lift us from the depths of despair into the joy of His presence once more.

We find hope in the resurrection

For believers, death is not the end. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). Because Christ rose from the grave, we have hope beyond the grave. The grieving sisters at Lazarus’ tomb did not understand Jesus’ ways at first.

But He turned their mourning into joy by raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44).

The promise of resurrection sustains us in grief. It reminds us our loved ones who died trusting in Christ are not lost, but have gone ahead to be with the Lord. At the last trumpet, the dead in Christ will rise and we will be reunited with them forever (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

What incomprehensible joy that will be!

Until that day, we walk by faith, trusting in God’s promises. We take comfort knowing our believing loved ones are in the presence of Christ, more alive than they have ever been (Philippians 1:21-23). Like Christ, we will one day break free from the bonds of decay and death.

The momentary afflictions of this life are achieving for us an eternal glory (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).


The loss of good people often leaves us with more questions than answers about God’s goodness and wisdom.

Yet even in the darkness of grief, Scripture urges us to go on trusting His heart of love. By God’s grace, we can praise Him as the Giver and Taker of life, keeping eternal hope through Christ.

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