We live in a chaotic world.
We know it and, unfortunately, our children know it too. Yes, we can do our best to isolate them from what’s around us, but one look at a newspaper in the checkout line at the store, one overheard newscast, one neighbor kid relating something he saw on the Internet and our child’s peace is shattered.
“Mom, will I get sick from that bad disease?”
“Dad, will someone walk into my school with a gun?”
“Will our country go to war?”
We can’t stop world events. Not going to happen.
But we do have a choice. We can sit in our living rooms and wonder what the world is coming to, or we can respond with Christ-like kindness and show our children how to grow in faith as together we reach out to those who are hurting.
The Lord Jesus Christ promises us – “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
First of course, we must teach our children that God is not surprised. He does not like what is happening, but He has given people free will and many choose to go their own way instead of His way. Sin has messed up this world in which we live. Yet God promises to give us peace in the middle of the trouble.
Second, look for ways to work with your child to respond positively to the situation. How can your family help those most affected by the turmoil? We can’t always do something tangible, but we can always pray … and often we can do more.
Here are some real-life examples of how families (and churches) have responded.
Recently a church was bombed in the Middle East and made international news. Our church supports one of the missionary families who leads the church. In fact, their elementary-aged son was cut by flying glass in the attack. The kids at our church made cards to send to the son, letting him know that they cared, that they were praying for him … and they also sent him some fun jokes to put a smile on his face.
When one family heard that a tornado had destroyed a town in another state, they and their children sent money (through a reputable mission organization) to help the people with clothes and food. The parents had the children do chores to earn the money. They wanted the children to think about what they were doing (rather than the parents making the donation with little effort from the children.)
Last fall, AWANA (where I work) received a letter from the children of Sierra Leone (there are more than 6,000 AWANA clubbers in the country) asking us to pray about the Ebola outbreak. Many of the children had lost parents to the disease. Schools were closed and children had not been able to take necessary exams to enter the next level of education. The children also wished for the quarantine to be lifted so they could attend AWANA once again. We put the letter on our organizational website and Facebook page so parents and children could pray for the children of Sierra Leone.
We need to teach our kids to not cower in fear, but instead to rest in the promise that the Lord is with us, offering us peace. We need to teach our children to reach out to those who are hurting. We need to teach our children that they can be mission-minded and make a difference by serving and encouraging others.
Yes, we live in a chaotic world. But Christ encourages us to take heart! We, in turn, can share Christ’s encouragement with others and teach our kids to do so, too.