Why Are Some Kids Born Into Poverty Article_Lisa Quintana

Why Are Some Kids Born into Poverty? What You Can Tell Your Children

By Lisa Quintana

Tucking her daughter into bed at night, Megan reminded Emma that we’re blessed to live in the United States, where there is generally plenty of good food to eat and clean drinking water. She said some poorer countries don’t have these basic needs. Her seven-year-old daughter then wondered why those poor people don’t move. Megan answered that babies are just born there. Emma looked at her and asked, “Why does God let that happen?” That question stumped her. Why do bad things happen to innocent kids?

Good question! Why are some children born into such dire circumstances? Here’s what you can say: God did not cause these terrible situations, but because he allows free will, sometimes people make bad choices. When God made the earth, everything was good. He provided humanity with all the things necessary for survival: water, food, and beautiful lands to build on to create all kinds of wonderful things! God also gave us the best gift ever — freedom. When he created humanity in his image, this included free will. He does not force people to love him! He wants people to be free to choose to love and establish a relationship with their Creator, or not.

The first people God created, Adam and Eve, didn’t know about hardship because they lived in the Garden of Eden. Eden was like paradise on Earth. (If you’ve never lived outside of paradise, you don’t know just how good it is!) Adam and Eve were deceived into thinking something must be better on the other side, and they rejected God’s plan for their own plans. They disobeyed him by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and by doing this, they threw humanity into a life-long lesson on what evils awaited. 

Now we all know how awful life can get when people reject God’s rule for their own. Adam and Eve got what they wanted — the freedom to go their own way and be their own boss. This one act by our first parents was passed down to all of us in what is called sinful nature. It’s a spiritual condition that is inherited by all humanity. Because of this sin, God must redeem us. He sent Jesus to earth to pay the penalty for our sinful nature. Jesus also lived a life that showed us how to treat others — the way we’d want to be treated. When we don’t believe in Jesus, we don’t treat others the way we should. That is why Christians need to set an example on how to treat people.

Today, the effects of rejecting God’s rule are felt all over the world. Sometimes, those in charge of managing the resources don’t always do a good job. Many of them are selfish, keeping too much food and resources for themselves — they don’t share. They don’t seem to care if some children don’t have access to clean water or enough food to eat. Sometimes, corrupt governments don’t educate the children or teach them how to farm the land and care for the natural resources available. It’s terribly sad. Because God gave people free will, he doesn’t always interfere. Yet, lots of times God helps when people pray and act on his behalf.

We need to remember our job description — “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

How do we act justly? By recognizing oppression and working toward freeing those held in its grips. For example, British politician and philanthropist William Wilberforce knew slavery was wrong. When considering Scripture in its context, he knew God wants freedom for people. Because he knew this, Wilberforce dedicated his life to ridding the world of slavery. Like Wilberforce, when someone is being treated unjustly, Christians should work toward alleviating that treatment.

Loving mercy is showing compassion and forgiveness towards someone when it’s within one’s power to do otherwise. Mercy is also demonstrated with compassion to help others and try to alleviate suffering. For God forgave us, even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). We can do no less.

Walking humbly with God is simply recognizing our dependency on him. He is the Vine, and we are the branches (John 15:5). He grows us, prunes us, and helps us to produce good fruit. This fruit is love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).  This is how we can be the hands and feet of Christ to a world full of hurt.

No child was ever supposed to be ‘born into’ poverty — that is not God’s will. People, not God, have caused most of the pain and hurt in this world. The good news is that God uses Christians to reach out to help poorer nations and oppressed people. Missionaries teach people about God, showing them how to farm their lands, help dig water wells, and other practical things that help better the lives of families.

God uses people to bring about his will on earth today. So, instead of asking why God allows bad things to happen, ask God how you can help.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2016 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy.

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