During his first inaugural speech, President Franklin Roosevelt shared with a Depression Era America, "...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." As a society, we are currently experiencing events that can foster a variety of fears. I would encourage all of us to look at the spirit of FDR's words and lean into his urging of not focusing on being fearful.
As believers, multiple times we are instructed in Scripture to fear not. We have a Heavenly Father who loves and cares for our children and us. His "fear not" commands do not mean we will not experience physical illness, inconveniences, or even lower portfolio balances. His "fear not" commands relentlessly point you and me to the unchanging fact that God is bigger than any fear or fear-creating event. Remember, our Father is trustworthy even when we do not understand His ways.
One of the passages where I find solace during frightening times, as well as being able to see the greatness of God, comes from Ecclesiastes 3. Solomon states in the first verse, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." He then lays out multiple activities for which there is a time. After sharing this, Solomon goes on to state, "He [God]has made everything beautiful in its time." God is trustworthy even when we do not understand His ways.
In our humanness, you and I may not understand a difficulty, yet that does not lessen God's trustworthiness. The prophet Isaiah accurately captured this in Isaiah 55: 8-9, "'My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,' says the LORD. 'And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine for just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.'" Our Father is trustworthy even when we do not understand His ways.
When difficulty comes and fear begins to swell, it's natural for adults and children alike to question what is happening and wonder where God is in the midst. As parents, we have the opportunity to not just temporarily comfort our kids in the present but equip them with truth that will carry them through any trial they face throughout their lives. We can share how trustworthy God is and because of this, we do not need to be fearful of fear itself but rather we can rest in God's trustworthiness and goodness, which have been since the beginning. Here are some talking points that may facilitate family conversations:
Where is God during this COVID-19 outbreak? More and more people are getting sick.
Because God is trustworthy, He shares with us in His Word where He is…
- God is personally interested in you – even when we are going through deep waters or rivers of difficulty (Isaiah 43:1-3)
- God is a place of refuge, a place of safety – just for us (Psalm 91)
- Jesus, Himself, tells us to come to Him for a place of rest (Matthew 11:28-30)
- Jesus tells us as believers we are His and we cannot be taken out of His hand (John 10:27-30)
God may be with us, but is He big enough, strong enough to be in control?Humans have wrestled with this question since Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden.
- Job 38 to 42 show us just how big and powerful God is. While God is giving Job a verbal spanking, He paints a wonderful picture of Himself. Plus God uses sarcasm to make His points! Jump into these chapters and discover the immensity of God, who is personally interested in you.
OK, God is with me, He is big enough but I am just scared. How do I deal with that?
- Fear. We have to look at it straight in the eye and own it, admitting it is there and admitting we have zero control. This is not displaying weakness--it is displaying strength because we really are not in control.
- Keep talking to God, parents, youth pastor, friends--be transparent and ask them to be transparent as well.
- Take a passage in the Bible that talks about ‘fear not’ and let that run through your mind. When fear thoughts jump in, go back and think on that passage.
- Use music to fill your mind with songs that build you up. (like Ryan Stevenson’s Eye of the Storm; Zach William’s Fear is a Liar)