Q&A: How Do I Explain Death To My Child?

Question: Although my son is old enough to understand death occurs, he has never attended a funeral until recently when my uncle died. My son is now asking a lot of questions that I’m not certain I can answer. I know God is sovereign, but that explanation is a big word for an 11 year old to comprehend. How can I best explain God’s purpose and timing in death?

Answer: As with all questions, the best place to find the answers is in God’s Word. In Ecclesiastes 3:1 and following, the Bible teaches that God has created a time for everything including a time to be born and a time to die. Remind your child that God is eternal and in control of all times and seasons of our lives, but what we choose to do with our lives is up to us.

Let your child know that God desires to teach us something about Himself in every situation, including sad ones such as funerals. For example, in Jeremiah 1:5 the Lord said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” As with Jeremiah’s life, teach your child that God knew him personally before he was ever born.

Then, point him to Psalm 139:16: . . .All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Show him that God not only knows each of us, He ordained the specific time, family, and birth order in which we would be born. Help him to consider the enormous purpose God has in your child’s placement.

Further show him that a person desiring to live a life with little regret will live sold out to Jesus Christ. This is evidenced by his willingness to obediently follow His plan, thereby fulfilling God’s purpose in creating him.

3 Comments
  1. I have tried to be as open as I can with our daughter about death. I’m luckily that she has unshakable faith and tells anyone and everyone that people who die had to go because God needed them more. She was 4 the first time I heard her comfort someone and tell them it was okay because their loved one was with God now.

  2. When our daughter died, it really helped us to go through Randy Alcorn’s book for kiddos about Heaven.
    (It’s called Heaven for Kids)
    I know that helps me too…when I spend time focusing on the fact that Heaven is real.
    Helps shift my focus to an eternal perspective.

  3. Kara –

    Thank you for sharing your personal perspective. Your testimony of choosing to focus on the certainty of eternity will be an enormous testimony to others as it has been to me!

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