Responding to Max Lucado

This morning I received an email that had been forwarded to me from an acquaintance. It was a devotional thought by Max Lucado on the subject of Death and Grieving.

In his devotional paragraph he attempted to tackle and conquer the monster of evil.
Here is what he wrote:
The seven-year-old son of our neighbors died last week. They are devastated. So are we. What can we tell them?
God is a good God. We must begin here. Though we don’t understand his actions, we can trust his heart.
God does only what is good. But how can death be good? Some mourners don’t ask this question. When the quantity of years has outstripped the quality of years, we don’t ask how death can be good.
But the father of the dead teenager does. The widow of the young soldier does. The parents of a seven-year-old do. How could death be good?

Part of the answer may be found in Isaiah 57:1–2: “Good people are taken away, but no one understands. Those who do right are being taken away from evil and are given peace. Those who live as God wants find rest in death” (NCV).

Death is God’s way of taking people away from evil. From what kind of evil? An extended disease? An addiction? A dark season of rebellion? We don’t know. But we know that no person lives one day more or less than God intends. “All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old” (Ps. 139:16 NCV).


Who could ever disagree with Max Lucado? I mean, come on… the guy writes Christian books for children and encouraging books for all of us who are in the grip of grace and fighting giants! Max Lucado is the cuddly and lovable Grandpa who writes encouraging books for those of us who just need a little uplifting inspiration.

But this answer is absolute trash.

A few well-intentioned friends tried selling this line of bull to my mom, after she woke up to find her infant son (7 months old) dead in his crib, for no explainable reason. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome finds no comfort in Max Lucado’s theology of death and loss. “Well, Judy – God is good! And God was protecting your baby Joshua from any number of atrocities that he would have likely become: a drug addict, a future porn star, or perhaps he would have just been terminally cancerous and would eventually die a slow, painful death. But you know, Judy. God wanted to protect Joshua from evil so He took your baby home to heaven. Now let’s just celebrate!”

But this answer is absolute trash.

The truth is, God doesn’t orchestrate the death of people in order to protect them from evil. This is an oxymoron!


We are born into and will die from a broken world. Genesis 3 jacked this whole experience called “Life”, and there will be unanswerable questions that we as Christians should stop pretending to have some theological grid for. The problem of evil will not (and should not) be a mystery conquered in an email devotional, mass forwarded to countless searchers.

And the truth is also that in the death and resurrection of Jesus – the brokenness of this world is being restored/reconciled to the Garden of Shalom. Jesus has ushered in a whole new Kingdom of Life, and the now-but not yet – Kingdom is the final trump card to the funeral of Joshua Dale DePoy, my infant brother who died when I was five years old.

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