7 Biblical Truths to Teach Children about Disease and Disasters

It is amazing to watch how the world, with all its advanced knowledge, technology, and economic power can be thrown into chaos by a virus, or by a tornado ripping through a major city. We really aren’t as strong as we think we are. Yet events such as these offer parents and the church crucial opportunities to help our children understand God’s good and sovereign rule in the midst of disease, calamities, and disasters.

If they are to have an unwavering and unshakable confidence in God, they must be taught how to interpret hard realities through biblical truth—not only for their own faith but so that they may be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

Toward that end, here are seven biblical truths to talk about with your children.

1. God is absolutely sovereign over disease, disasters, and calamities.

Isaiah 45:7—“I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things.”

Daniel 4:35—“…[God] does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, 'What have you done?’"

God is never surprised or nervous by things like deadly viruses, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. All things are under His absolute rule. For those who trust in Jesus, we can rest knowing that God is always on His throne accomplishing His perfect purposes—even when we don’t understand the “why?”

2. God is good, loving, and right in all He does.

Psalm 145:9—The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all he has made.

Psalm 100:5—For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 145:17—The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.

In the midst of a disaster, we often fail to remember the millions upon millions of ways God has been good, kind, and loving to us—even to people who are in rebellion against Him. The kindness and love of God is also shown through His provision of doctors, medicines, hospitals, rescue workers, and more.

3. God has subjected the whole world to a curse because of sin.

Romans 8: 20, 22—For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope…For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

Romans 1:18—For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…

Disease, disasters, and calamities are all glimpses of God’s righteous judgment on mankind’s sin against our good and loving Creator. We should not be surprised by the brokenness of this world and the experience of sickness, pain, and suffering.

4. Disease, disasters, and calamities point to our desperate need for Jesus.

Matthew 10:28—“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

2 Peter 3:9— The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

John 3:36—Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

While disease, disasters, and calamities are all evidences of God’s judgment, they are also meant to serve to point sinners to their need for a Savior. People often don’t see their need for a Savior until they feel helpless, afraid, and facing suffering or even death. This is a mercy of God. We desperately need Jesus!

5. God designs all suffering in a Christian’s life to work for our good.

Romans 5:3-5—Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 8:28—And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

2 Corinthians 4:17—For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

As difficult and painful as suffering is to experience, God has promised to use it for the good of His people. Suffering is only temporary and will produce in us immeasurable joy beyond comparing in the future.

6. When Jesus returns, the curse will be removed, and He will restore all creation.

Revelation 21:3-5—And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

The day is coming when there will be no more disease, calamities, and disasters in the world. Jesus will return and make all things new and perfect. God’s redeemed people will live in God’s presence, experiencing fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).

7. Ultimately, God does all things for His glory—to display His greatness and worth.

Romans 11:33-36—Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

God is incomprehensible—He is more than we can fully understand! When all is said and done, all disease, disasters, and calamities will serve to display His incomparable greatness and worth! We can rest in this glorious truth.

This blog post kicks off a seven-part devotional series. For lessons on each of these seven biblical truths, see:

Truth 1 | Truth 2 | Truth 3 | Truth 4 Truth 5 | Truth 6 | Truth 7