There is so much tragedy at despair in this world that it’s often overwhelming for us to think about. It’s important for our children to know how to react in times of great strife, and to recognize Jesus as the light in darkness.
Though I rarely keep up with current events (I find them too depressing), there are some occurrences I simply can’t ignore. And though we often try to shelter our children from the heartache all around, it isn’t always possible—or advisable—to do so. They are more aware than we think they are
When tragedies strike, most people respond in one of three ways: 1) They draw near to God by praying and studying the Bible; 2) they consider these tragedies proof that God either doesn’t exist or that, if He does, He is not a good and loving god; or 3) they seek to ignore the situation and focus on their day-to-day life.
I believe, now more than ever, we must draw near to God. After all, James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” What an incredible promise!
How To Respond To Our Kid’s Questions
It is crucial that we set a good example for our children, especially in this area. They are growing up in a scary world and that becomes more apparent almost every day. My eldest son was very young when the Gulf War took place, but he was frightened. He didn’t have any concept of how far away the fighting was and wanted to know if it would affect him personally.
While, back then, I could assure him that we were safe, it is getting more difficult for parents to honestly give their children this kind of assurance—no matter where they live. Things are changing.
Our children are likely to become overwhelmed with the bad news that bombards them every day. If they have declared themselves to be Christian, they may not know what to say when their faith is mocked or when someone asks, “How could a good god let this happen?” Let’s be honest, sometimes we’re not really sure how to answer that question.
Even if our sons and daughters aren’t being asked this and other questions like it, they may be asking these questions themselves—though they may be reluctant to mention their uncertainty and insecurity for fear of disappointing or upsetting us.
It is our responsibility to let them know they can come to us with their fears and concerns. If we don’t know the answers to their questions, we must be willing to admit it and seek the answers together.
While I was thinking about these things, a realization struck me afresh: Jesus Himself came to a world in turmoil, a world of greed and self-centredness, a world where religious leaders were misleading the people, a world of prejudice and division, a world in which people misunderstand God’s plans and purposes, a world where people lashed out in hate.
But Jesus gives us a brand new perspective: hope in the midst of despair, peace in the midst of turmoil, light in the midst of darkness.
The first five verses of the gospel of John are well worth memorizing as a family. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
The Darkness Has Not Overcome It
It makes me want to shout it from the rooftops. “THE DARKNESS HAS NOT OVERCOME IT!”
There was much darkness in Jesus’ day—and there is much darkness in our own, but these words from John are as true today as they were thousands of years ago.
Granted, it does take a great deal of determination to focus on the light when the darkness seems so overwhelming, when it bombards us from every side, but it is possible to do so.
While we may not want to focus on world events with young or especially sensitive children and teens, we can’t avoid certain topics entirely. They will hear things from other adults and their peers as well as reading about them on the Internet.
Memorizing God’s Word
If we discuss the scary things that are going on, we can steer the conversation. Plus, we can do so in light of the Scriptures. We must teach our sons and daughters the truths found in God’s Word. And we can explain to them that while we don’t have all the answers, God does and we can trust Him.
My husband and I participated in training recently in preparation to serve as leaders in our church’s midweek club for children. This particular program stresses the importance of scripture memorization. I’ve known for some time how important it is, but if we commit to doing so with our family—and others, we will be arming them—and ourselves—with the sword of the Spirit as it says in Ephesians 6:17.
Jesus overcame temptation by quoting the Word. We can overcome fear, despair, and confusion by focusing on God’s promises. As the psalmist said, we must hide God’s Word in our heart. I have found from personal experience that when we do so, the Holy Spirit brings it to mind when needed.
Let’s begin to memorize God’s Word. And let’s begin with John 1:5: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
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