Family and Relationships
Teaching Our Children to Face Trials
Apr 10, 2017
If God Is In Control, Why Is My Life Such a Mess?

FOR YOUR GIFT OF ANY AMOUNT

The Bible says we are to train up our children in the way they should go (see Proverbs 22:6), but does that mean we should remove all obstacles from their lives? As parents, we want to give our children the best chance in life. But in the age of helicopter parenting, our attempts to protect our kids can often do more harm than good.

 

Let’s face it: Life is hard. Our children are only in our homes for a season. After that, they are on their own—and those first few years of independence will present plenty of tests and temptations. While we have them with us, let’s take every opportunity to share what God is doing, even when things are tough. Those lessons might be what get them through a rough patch 10 years from now.

While we have them with us, let’s take every opportunity to share what God is doing, even when things are tough.

DON'T BE AFRAID TO SHARE YOUR TRIALS

So much of our culture is intent on filtering out the difficulties in life. Photo apps use filters to make average photos feel noteworthy. Facebook friends often share their successes and hide the failures. This picture of life is whitewashed. 

 

Your children need to see authenticity. Why? Because if all they see is an edited picture of life, they may have a rose-colored perspective of reality. We need to be sharing our life with our kids so they are prepared when they face things on their own.

 

In his series Don’t Ever Give Up, Dr. Michael Youssef says, “Christianity is producing hothouse Christians who wilt outside their protective environments. . . . They will enjoy basking inside the house of God, but let them get out in the pagan world where we are hated and our teaching is resented, and they’ll hope to never bring up a controversial subject.” 

 

Let’s raise up a generation that is strong in the Lord and can withstand whatever trials they face.

USE TRIALS TO BRING SCRIPTURE TO LIFE

Think for a moment about many of the Sunday school classes your children attended. Jonah and the whale, David and Goliath, Mary and Joseph—they’re all incredible examples of people who faced trials and put their trust in God. The problem is, they may only feel like stories to your children—the same kind they’d find in a children’s book. 

 

Your children may not make the connection between Scriptural lessons and how to apply those each day. They need to see you making that connection first. 

 

Start by being honest with them. Here are some practical examples:

 

  • If finances are tight, let your children join you in trusting that God will provide. It’s an opportunity to bring to life what the Bible says: “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” (Luke 12:24).
  • When we sin or make mistakes in front of our children, our first instinct might be to hide or minimize our shortcomings. Some days you will mess up royally, and when that happens your children will be watching how you react. Take the opportunity instead to highlight your own need for God’s grace (see Romans 12:9). Share how you will use the situation to turn to God, who is your “refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
  • Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult, and we might be tempted to conceal feelings of hurt and grief. While your children may not understand everything happening in the moment, one day they will. Teach them now how to look to eternity in times of deep pain and loss with great hope and assurance in Christ, who has “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10).

 

James 1 says we are to “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3). Sharing your ups and downs will not only build a deeper relationship with your children; it may also deepen their own relationship with God.

FOCUS ON ETERNITY

Jesus is the hope we have within us, and it’s our greatest desire to share that with our children. With God’s help, we get to be an example of looking to the cross and being filled with the joy of eternity, even in times of trouble.

 

1 Peter 4:13 says, “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” We look forward to that day when His glory will be revealed. What an amazing day it will be! Until then, we can face our trials with joy—and teach our children to do the same.