The greatest miracle of the Incarnation is not that God visited us—as Creator, he has every right to enter his creation. All through the Hebrew Bible, we find God intervening in the affairs of our planet.
The greatest miracle of the Incarnation is that this Creator chose to come to us as a baby. The One who holds the universe in the palm of his hand (Isa. 40:12) reduced his omnipotence into a miniscule fetus and was born as a helpless baby. Hands that held the universe were sheltered in a mother's arms. Christmas shows us what God thinks of babies.
As I write, our nation is grieving the horrific deaths of 10 children in a freak storm in Oklahoma. Seven were pulled from the wreckage of an elementary school. Watching the news coverage of the tornado, many of us are asking faith's hardest questions: Why did God allow such a tragedy? Why didn't he prevent it, or at least shelter these innocent, helpless children? What do we do now?
And the question we'll address here: What happened to the children when they died?
In my 35 years of ministry, I have stood beside parents as they gave doctors permission to withdraw life support from their babies. I have stood beside tiny coffins as parents placed their children's bodies in the ground. I am the father of two grown sons; every day since they were born, I have prayed for God to keep them safe.
When a child dies, part of us dies as well. And we ask: What happens to them? Assuming they were not old enough to understand the gospel and trust Christ as Lord and Savior, what is their eternal state now?
What does God think of children?
One day Jesus' disciples asked him, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" (Matt. 18:1). They ...