Life can be scary! There are so many things going on in the world to be afraid of these days, especially if you have children. There have been 97 reported pediatric deaths due to flu-related issues in the US just this year. According to Wikipedia, there are an estimated 21 million victims trapped in modern-day slavery. And, we are all painfully aware that mass shootings at places that have traditionally been safe, fun places for our children, like concerts, movie theaters, and even schools, have become almost a common occurrence.
So, what do we do? Do we keep our children at home in a bubble? Do we put them on a leash to keep them close by so we are there to protect them if anything bad comes near? Believe me, I’ll be the first to tell you that I struggle with wanting to do this! I want to do everything I can to keep my kids’ bodies, minds and souls safe!
It’s interesting that in the Bible, God gives many commands to parents, but being your child’s protector is not specifically mentioned. I would say that it’s a given and it comes naturally to protect our children. We are most definitely going to do everything in our ability to keep them safe from harm. But, God is our protector, and He’s ultimately our children’s protector, too!
So, what is our purpose as parents? We are training our children to be adults. To stand on their own two feet someday and be able to handle life without us. In doing so, we have the opportunity to help build our children’s faith while they are young so that when they are grown and on their own, they have a solid foundation to stand on. As Jesus grew from child to man, the Bible says He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). This is what we want for our kids!
I can still remember one evening when my daughter was young. I had been watching some tragedy unfold on the news as the kids played in another room nearby. Somehow she had overheard some of what happened and questioned me about it that night when I put her in bed, afraid that as she slept something bad might happen to her. I assured her that she was safe and sent her off to sleep. But as Jordan and I talked about it, we decided right then that she did not need to put her faith in us as her protector. She did not need to believe that because she loved God that nothing bad would ever happen. We needed to begin to teach her the truth. Our children need to know that God is in control! That nothing happens, good or bad, without being approved by Him first. Does this mean God makes bad things happen? No! But it does mean that He allows bad things to happen. And, He uses every single thing, good and bad, to point people to Himself!
We won’t always be with our children to tell them how to think and feel, and truthfully, its not healthy for them if we try. Here are some tips on talking to your kids and helping send them out with confidence:
1. Have honest (age appropriate) talks and memorize scripture together!
God’s Word is full of “FEAR NOT” verses to His children. When you tuck them in bed at night, read one of these verses to your child. Ask them if they ever feel afraid. Let them know that when they do, they can say this verse in their mind. Explain that it means that we don’t need to be afraid because God is with us and will help us get through all situations, good and bad. Tell them that even when you aren’t with them, that God is! Read the verse out loud together. Then see who can say it without looking. You should both have it memorized after a week. Add another “fear not” verse to their memory the next week. Talk occasionally about fears your child has. Remind them to say these verses to themselves when they are afraid. Don’t forget to practice the ones you’ve already learned.
For young children~the point is not to scare your child or give them reason to be afraid. Try not to project your fears on them. Let them share their fears. They will likely be innocent childhood fears like monsters under the bed. Use this to instill God’s Word into their heart, so when the real monsters come, they will already have had practice!
For older children~ they may have fears that have real potential of taking place. Talk them through these things and let them share their feelings. Don’t tell them that these things won’t happen to them. But, assure them that nothing will get to them without going through God. Explain that if God allows it in their life He will use it for their good and His glory. This will help them grow closer to Him, which is the main point in life as a believer. These conversations will help them learn to take ownership of their faith.
2. Pray with and for them!
When your child expresses fear, hold their hands and pray out loud. Lord, we know that you are in control. We know you have a plan for chid's name. You have given us, your children a spirit of power, not a spirit of fear! Lord, help us to trust in You and in Your great plan. Give us peace in our hearts and minds. We pray in Your powerful name Jesus! Amen
3. Write it down! Post a verse on your child’s mirror, next to their bed or stick it in their lunch box.
Jordan and I went out of the country for a mission trip about a year ago. Our kids are fully aware of terrorism at this age and expressed some concern about where we were going. I left envelopes next to their beds that were dated so they knew when to open them. Inside each envelope was a notecard with a Scripture about God’s plans and about being fearful. It guided them to pray specifically for something we would be doing on our mission trip that day. This not only gave them confidence not to fear but it also lead them to feel like a part of what God was doing on our trip by praying!
4. Keep up with scary situations the Lord brings your family through.
(car accident, storm, sickness, death, divorce, job loss…) Remind your children of God’s faithfulness from time to time. This helps build their faith when they remember how good God has been to them and when they can see evidence of His presence, even in the hard times.
5. Talk to your child about having the ultimate security, which is only found in salvation in Jesus Christ. This way, they have confidence in life as well as death!
As the rest of the world is in turmoil and as they look to new laws, rules and regulations to try and make the world a safer place, let’s teach our kids a calm but strong confidence in our great Protector. The One who sees all and has power over life and death! The One who can speak to the wind and waves and they obey. The One who walks with us in life and offers us life with Him after death. Laws, rules and regulations are all good things, but we can not put our trust in them or believe that they alone will keep bad things from happening. Our world needs Jesus! Our kids need Jesus!
Here are some good Bible verses to begin with!
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Remind them that God has a plan!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Romans 8:28 & 31
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…If God is for us, who an be against us?
Psalm 121:2 (All of chapter 121 would be great to memorize!)
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.