6 Things to Tell Your Kids When the World is Hurting
- Betsy de Cruz Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2016 18 Jul
Last weekend I woke up to messages from both kids that read, “Mom and Dad, please tell us you’re okay.” The home screen on my phone was flooded with notifications. I can’t begin to describe the eerie feeling that settled over me as I read message after message asking, “Are you all right?” I had no idea what had happened. Apparently we’d gone to bed just minutes before a coup attempt in the country where we live. Our kids at camp and friends far away worried about us.
The news hits hard these days. The recent attack on police Dallas gripped my family because we just spent 9 months there on home leave. I’d driven my daughter each week past the very spot where the shooting took place, just a few blocks from our church.
Personally, the news hits me hard because I live in the same house with two older teens, born on the tail end of the millennial generation. My kids care deeply about our world. Each disastrous news report leaves a profound impact on them.
Sometimes I wonder, “What can I say to my children about the world we live in?"
What can we pass on to the next generation? How can they hold onto hope in our hurting world? There aren’t any easy answers; this is the best I can do. This is what I want to pass on to my kids and what I want to share with you:
Dear Son and Daughter,
Dad and I love you. You are our shining stars. We want more than anything for you to be hope to our hurting world, but to do that, you have to be hopeful people yourselves.
Keep Your Hearts Set on Hope
More than ever, we need to set our hearts on true hope. How can we do that when the news screams daily that the world is not as safe a place as we thought?
Hope comes from God, so keep your eyes on Him and your hearts open to the work of His Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 reminds us: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Let’s set our hearts on God. He’s the true source of goodness, light, and love in our world.
Keep Your Gaze on God
When you’re feeling anxious, take a break from your newsfeed. Remember that the same God who calls each star by name created you and loves you. Remember that no sparrow falls to the ground without His permission. He knows the number of hairs on each head on our planet, and He cares deeply for each one of us.
Nations rise and fall, but our Eternal God remains on His throne. We can’t always see Him, but He reigns over the universe. God is at work. He’s all-powerful, and He will complete His purposes. Let’s ask Him to rule over our hearts during turbulent times.
Read the Word
To be people of hope, we’ll need a steady diet of scripture for our hearts and minds. We need to stay informed about what’s going on in our world, but we can’t let the news shape our worldview. We need God’s Word to give life to our thoughts.
Scripture reminds us: “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:8) World events come and go, but God’s Word remains unchanging. It offers us never-ending wisdom and encouragement. When we read it, we find strength for each day. We find hope, light, and love to share with others.
Choose Faith over Fear
Daily reports of senseless shootings and terrorist attacks make the world look dark, but please don’t allow the constant barrage of bad news to write fear over your hearts. Fear makes us forget God and His care for us. Faith focuses on His love and power.
God’s Word gives you a sure promise: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, 'My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'” (Psalm 91:1-2)
Rest in God’s shadow. Trust Him. Nothing about our world is taking God by surprise. His eternal design is still in motion. His redemption plan began in the Garden of Eden when sin entered the world. It was completed when Jesus died for sin and rose again. God will bring His plan to fulfillment when Christ returns.
Until then, let’s hold on to hope and offer it to others.
Let’s Pray for Our World
Let the news turn your eyes heavenward. Pray as you read headlines in your newsfeed. Let the information you hear in news reports inform your prayers. Fear and worry won’t change the world, but prayer can. Consider all the prayer lifted up for Orlando, Dallas, Baton Rouge, Istanbul, and Nice in recent weeks. Rest assured that God will answer those prayers in His way and in His timing.
Let’s be Good News
As our nation grows increasingly polarized over faith issues and values, keep sharing God’s love. Don’t be afraid to invite a friend to church or offer to pray for him. Ask God to open doors for you to share our message of love and salvation.
Shine God’s light not only in word, but also in deed. After you leave home, I hope you’ll be the kind of person who mentors a struggling student in your community or sponsors a child in another country. I dream of you serving in a homeless shelter or giving some of your money to support God’s work overseas. Maybe you’ll carry packets of snack and toiletry items in your car to give to street people. Let’s do those things together now while you still live at home.
Even when our world looks hopeless, you have an unchanging promise.
“’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.’” (Jeremiah 29:11) We’re so glad that even in today’s world, you have a hope and a future. How about passing that hope on to others?
Mom and Dad
Betsy de Cruz enjoys God, life with teenagers, and dark roast coffee. Betsy’s passion is to encourage women to get God’s Word in, so their faith can spill out, even during life’s bumpy moments. She and her family live in the Middle East. Most days she feels privileged to live overseas; other days she wants to pull her hair out and catch the next plane home. Betsy writes about real life faith on her blog, faithspillingover.com, on Facebook. and on Twitter.