Where Do Children Go When They Die? Resources You Can Trust

by Kristen Gilles

in Coping With Miscarriage/Stillbirth/Death

Parker David Gilles and Kristen GillesWhen our son Parker was stillborn last fall, we ached with sorrow (and still do). But God has given a joy that is greater and flows deeper than the sorrow.

God has graciously answered the greatest longing of my heart, the prayer I prayed most fervently during my 42 weeks of pregnancy with Parker.  God has saved Parker and made our son His own.  He has freed him from the curse and slavery of sin and given him a new, perfect heart that desires only to please and intimately know the Lord.  This is a tremendous victory for the family and Kingdom of God Most High.  And we are right to respond in worshiping our Savior.

But, as Bobby and I have journeyed along the past five months since our son Parker was born into the arms of Jesus on October 21st, we have wrestled with a number of questions surrounding God’s purpose in Parker’s life and death here on earth.  We know that anyone who’s lost a child has asked the question “Why did my child have to die?” and they’ve probably wondered where their child is now.  This is a natural response to a devastating loss.  Some of the other questions that Bobby and I have been asking are:

  • What is God’s purpose for us in this suffering?
  • What does His Word say about children who die in the womb, in infancy or in early childhood?
  • What assurances has God given us regarding the salvation of our son? 

As we’ve pressed in to know the Lord through our suffering, He has graciously comforted us with the promises of His Word.  Psalm 119:50 says

“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.”

God has been faithfully preserving our lives and guarding our hearts with His great and precious promises that never fail.  Because of God’s great love for us, because of His never-failing Word, because of His goodness and His grace poured out to us, because of all these things, the comfort we have been receiving is truly profound and heart-strengthening.

In addition to God’s proven Word in the Scriptures, we wanted to share some other comforting resources with all of you as we know that many of you have suffered similar losses in your families, or you know someone who has.

I can’t emphasis enough how faithful God is in His Word to speak into our sorrow, particularly when we lose our precious children.  John MacArthur wrote Safe In the Arms of God: Truth from Heaven About the Death of A Child as an encouragement to grieving parents, to help them know what God’s Word says about the eternal destiny of their children.  Nancy Guthrie, a fellow Christian author on this topic who lost two children of her own had this to say about MacArthur’s book:

“Safe in the Arms of God reveals that confidence of heaven for the child you love is based on much more than mere sentimentality; it is revealed in the Word of God and reflective of the very heart of God.”

MacArthur works through the questions we all have when we or someone we know loses a little one: Where is my child? What can we say with certainty to those with empty arms? How does God regard children? Will I see my child again? What is my child’s life like in heaven? Why did my child have to die? How can we minister to those who are grieving?

Needless to say, this book is profoundly helpful and full of Truth from God’s Living Word.

Nancy Guthrie, mentioned above, has also written books on her experience in losing two babies to the same fatal genetic syndrome.  After Parker’s stillbirth, a dear friend gave us a copy of Nancy’s latest book, Hearing Jesus Speak Into Your Sorrow.  She works through the Scriptures and expounds on many ways in which Jesus has endured our very specific sorrows. She invites us to hear Him speaking to us words of comfort like “I too, have known overwhelming sorrow; I, too, have heard God tell me no; I have a purpose in your pain; I am in control of your life and your death.”

See, too, these short web articles:

These resources, coupled with God’s Word, have brought much life, peace, hope and joy to our hearts. They have encouraged us to want to know how to tell Parker’s story of salvation and new life in Christ.  It is important that we as believers know what God’s Word says to us about the children we have lost, and all the other children of the world that have entered into His heavenly Kingdom.  As we acknowledge and retell the redemption stories of these precious Little Ones who now belong to God we simultaneously have the opportunity to share the gospel with the watching world.

Throughout history, the Lord has been indescribably good in saving billions of infants and children, not because they were free from any willful acts of sin, but through the sacrifice of Christ’s perfect life which atoned for their original sin, the disease that has infected all of mankind since the Fall.  God is incredibly good in rescuing these little ones from the evil of this world and the very presence and power of Satan, sin and sickness and faithfully adding them to His Kingdom.

So as we fill our hearts and mouths with the perfect Word of the Man of Sorrows spoken into our sorrows, we’re entrusted and empowered to rightly respond in worship of His great saving name, the only name under heaven by which anyone can be saved.


Moses Flores March 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Herman Bavinck’s “saved by grace” (I think that’s the title) is quite good on this topic as well. Apparently he engaged in a big controversy over it. That book really balanced a lot for me.

Isaac March 19, 2013 at 10:25 pm

My wife & I had a miscarriage last fall, and since I didn’t have a strong theology of infant salvation, I have worried about whether or not our child really is in heaven. In light of that, this has been very encouraging for me to read. I’m so sorry for your loss of Parker, but I am glad to see how God has used your experience to encourage so many others.

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