Our intuition as parents is to protect and provide for our children. But how do we keep our children safe and care for their needs in uncertain times? It’s challenging to prepare for what we cannot anticipate. The temptation can be to hustle and plan for every possible scenario, yet this can breed fear in our children’s spirits. We don’t want to live at the edge of “What if?”
When life begins feeling like guesswork, we can return to what we know about God. Focusing on His character, we come more quickly to a place of peace and calm where we can rightly dissect a problem and make a plan. We can train our children to not react to life’s circumstances but instead respond and operate from truth.
In uncertain times, we can turn to what we know: God is here. God is good. God is for us.
Have you ever been in a fearful situation only to have the presence of a friend or family member calm you? The nearness of a loved one is a powerful force for subduing anxiety. How much more powerful than to be in the presence of the One who knows our innermost being? The all-knowing God is fully aware of our questions. He has compassion for our fears. He also knows the details of every circumstance around us and stands ready to protect our hearts, minds, and bodies.
Consider a parent bird guarding their chicks. Sensing danger, they gather and shelter their young ones beneath their wings. Psalm 91:4 uses this visual to help us understand God’s protection: “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
If your child is anxious about what’s happening in the world, you can remind them God is always near. Like a parent bird keeping close watch from a nearby tree or protecting its young in the nest, He is always aware of where we are and what is around us. Nothing comes within our proximity without His knowing, and He’s always ready to defend and protect us.
Our children struggle to find their bearings in a constantly changing world. However, God is always true to His nature. Contrasting society’s unpredictability, God provides our kids with security. Malachi 3:6 says, “For I, the LORD, do not change.”
James 3:12 asks this interesting question: “Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, bear olives, or a vine bear figs?” You can walk with your child outside and remind them that each plant has leaves, flowers, and fruit according to its kind. An apple tree won’t make oranges. A pear tree won’t grow grapes. The same is true of God: His actions always match who He is, and He is good! This means His actions in our lives are good.
If your child feels overwhelmed by everything happening to them, you can assure them that amid every change, God has good plans for them, as we read in Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”
Not only is God always good, but He is on our side! Everything God does is for His glory and our good. As your child grows older and realizes how little control they have over life’s circumstances, you can equip them with confidence in a God who is always looking out for their good. At times, they will need to suspend their ideologies and plans and open themselves up to God’s agenda. You can help them practice this and create habits of trusting God. For example, if something goes awry in their day, ask them how God might be at work. Maybe God has a different and better plan for the day. Perhaps He can redeem a challenging circumstance and turn it into an opportunity to bless a friend. Maybe He wants to use disappointment to grow their faith.
You can use the imagery of a mother mountain sheep training her young on a mountainside. Baby ewes learn from a very young age to balance on cliff edges as thin as two inches. The mother mountain goat guides her young into potentially dangerous situations so they will learn to navigate safely and confidently. Sometimes God will allow or even lead us into risky scenarios so He can teach us to identify dangers as well as safe routes. All the while, He remains right next to us, guiding and protecting us along the way.
Uncertain times can become the soil in which our children’s faith flourishes. Teach your child to cut off fear at its source and turn their attention to the promise of Isaiah 41:10:
God is here: “Do not fear, for I am with you …”
God is good: “… Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you …”
God is for us: “… Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”