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Dear Charlie (this was not the real name of the child),
When you love and enjoy playing with a person, whether they are a young child or an adult, it is something unusual that after some point you do not see them any more because they have “died”. This is obviously quite upsetting and you have various questions about what has come to pass. We are sorry that this has happened to you. You could now feel sad and wish that this loved person had not died and this is quite normal. Other people will also be feeling the same. You may want to cry and that is all right. Adults cry as well. This sadness will not become the way that you feel all the time. You will also want to remember and talk about the happy times that you had with this loved person.
The Bible, God’s good letter to us, explains about life and death as follows. It tells us that there are three parts to a person which are: spirit, soul and body (1). What is a body? Just as a tent or house is where people live in so the body is the outside part of you and in it lives the soul and spirit (2). Each body has different parts, e.g. ears, eyes, a brain (to think with), heart (that keeps the blood circulating), hands and feet and so it can do different things. However what is the soul? It is that part of us which wants to do things (3), understands things (4), and loves (5), and can feel sorry for oneself and get upset (6). It has to do more with the body. The spirit understands more about God (7). The soul and the spirit are seen as being like one another (8). What is death? Death is the result when there is no life in the body. This is because the soul and the spirit leave the body (9) and the heart has stopped working and the brain has stopped thinking. Nearly everyone grows up to be an adult and lives for many years but a few die when they are children. After a person has died there is a funeral for them when the body is put in the earth (10).
What happens to the soul and spirit of a baby or young child at death? The Lord Jesus taught in Mark 10:13-14 “Then they brought little children (properly infants) to Him (Jesus v5), that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children (again infants) come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” As the word for “young children” is “infants” then the Lord Jesus is saying that babies or young children who die before reaching the age of understanding will be in heaven.
. Therefore the soul and spirit of that baby went to heaven and that shows what happens when a baby or very young child dies. This is because they have not reached the age where they can tell the difference between right and wrong and were not able to believe the Gospel. The Gospel means “good news” and an example verse of it is John chapter 3 verse 16 (11).
What is heaven like? We are not told a lot about heaven but we are told that it is a place where the Lord Jesus is and it is “far better” than earth (12). It is beyond the sky (13) and is a happy place (14) where there is no pain or sorrow or crying or death (15) and it will go on forever (16). Children, teenagers and adults who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour will be there (17 & 18).
It is good to remember this at this time. No doubt you will want to talk to and get help from adults. We hope that in time to come you will be generally feeling happier.
Ross Road Gospel Hall Fellowship
(1) 1st Thessalonians chapter (c)5 verse (v) 23 (written to Christians) “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2a) 2nd Corinthians c5v1-2 (written to Christians) “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle (a special tent in the Old Testament) were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.”
(2b) 2nd Peter c1v14 “Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ has shewed me.”
(3) Deuteronomy c11v13 “And it shall come to pass, if you shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,”
(4) Psalm 139v14 “I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are your works; and that my soul knows right well.”
(5) Deuteronomy c6v5 “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”
(6a) Psalm 42v6 “O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember you from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.”
(6b) Numbers c21v4 “And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.”
(7a) Romans c1v9 “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;”
(7b) Romans c8v16 (written to Christians) “The Spirit (of God) itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”
(8) Hebrews c4v12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
(9a) Genesis c35v18 “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.”
(9b) James c2v26 “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
(10) Matthew c14v12 “And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.”
(11) John c3v16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
(12) Philippians c1v23 “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:”
(13) 1st Thessalonians c4v16 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:”
(14) Jude c1v24 (written to Christians) “Now unto him (God) that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,”
(15) Revelation c21v4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
(16) 2 Corinthians c5v1 “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
(17) Luke 18:16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer (or allow) little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
(18) Acts c16v31 “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.”
We only die once and do not come back again to this life. Hebrews c9v27-28 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
(We think that some good advice about how children and teenagers react to death, and can be helped to cope with it, is on www.barnardos.org.uk).