As the previous post in our Book of Acts video series revealed, Phil Vischer discusses the martyrdom of Stephen and the other apostles in his latest DVD in the Buck Denver Asks … What’s in the Bible? series. Volume 11: Spreading the Good News! [The Book of Acts] ends with a question posed by the character Ian – “Did God love Paul more than Stephen, since He saved Paul and Stephen died?” Even though Phil reveals in the DVD that Paul too was eventually killed for his faith in Jesus, he gives a thoughtful response to Ian’s question.
As Vischer points out, most kids will ask this question eventually. Sometimes it is in the form of “why do bad things happen to good people?” or perhaps they see a friend or family struggle with illness, and wonder if God will answer their prayers for healing or saving. “That is such a profoundly central question as we mature as Christians,” Vischer said.
It is central to our lives as followers of Christ to understand God’s plan for redemption and restoration, because that can help us acknowledge that the bad things that happen to us in this life are consequences of sin and the fall.
We “try to take kids into this truth – that following God does not mean terrible things won’t happen, and terrible things happening isn’t a sign that God doesn’t love you. God’s love for you was settled on the cross. Terrible things happening is a sign of the fall, and God has a plan to fix it – that’s what the Cross is about,” Vischer explained.
As with Stephen, Paul, and the other apostles and followers of Christ who were martyred, Vischer said it’s important to remember that “there is no happily ever after on earth for any of these guys. The happily ever after is later.” Referring to Christ’s promises for eternal life with Him, Vischer reinforces the idea that we are still in what Paul called the “present evil age” in the book of Galatians. Paul tells us in Galatians 4:1 that Christ died to rescue us from evil.
However, as Vischer notes, it’s key to remember that the Bible does not promise us a life free from pain and struggle, but rather that God has a plan to bring forth His Kingdom, where there will be no more pain and no more tears. He has a plan to fix it! Therefore, we can take heart and have faith throughout life on this earth, praising God for His plan to rescue us from all evil, forever.
Vischer said, “To me, this is the most important thing in the whole show,” and that it’s an important truth for kids – and grownups! – to understand.