Maybe I am just in a blue mood lately, but it seems Christians around the world are being persecuted more than they have in years. Our lives may not be in danger for practicing Christianity in the U.S., but we are routinely mocked as stupid, uneducated or hateful. The pressure is sometimes overwhelming to veto God and say His commands are no longer valid in today’s world. Our children will to have to be strong to withstand the peer pressure or persecution they may suffer for obeying God.
Even if our children grow up in a world where God is valued and worshipped, life itself can bring pain. God does not cause pain, but the fallen world means we are surrounded by illness, heartbreak and evil deeds. Even our DNA is no longer perfect, resulting in disabilities and inherited illnesses. Our children will need to be strong to have their faith remain unshaken by the stresses of living in a fallen world.
If we are to dedicate our children to God, we need to teach them Christian resiliency. It doesn’t remove pain, but reminds us something greater than our pain is in charge. It is the reminder of the hope created by knowing God walks with you through the hard times on this fallen earth. It is the promise God will one day remove us from the fallen earth and we will spend eternity with Him in heaven.
Have you ever noticed much of the travel and writing in the New Testament was to encourage other Christians? For the first couple of hundred years after Christ, Christians suffered a variety of persecutions including some pretty gory deaths. The temptation to recant their belief in Jesus must have been overwhelming when a lion was waiting to pounce and devour them. Yet many maintained their vocal belief in spite of the pain and fear it must have caused them.
Faith in God can be shaken when illness or loss hits too close to home. How could a loving God allow this to happen to me or the one I love? Yet, God never promises us happiness here on earth. He promises he will be by our side helping us through the hard times.
Have you ever wondered how the apostle Paul was able to write letters of encouragement to churches while he was sitting in prison, knowing he would be executed at some point? He had learned not only how to be content no matter his circumstances, but how to serve God in a productive way no matter his circumstances.
What a precious gift to give our children! To find a way to teach them to be content no matter what the circumstances in their life may be. To teach them how to focus on God and lean on him in the painful and scary times as well as the happy ones. To teach them how to be productive servants, worshipping God all the days of their life – whether they be sunny or rainy days. Think if our churches were suddenly filled with people no longer stuck in their pain as helpless victims, but serving God while praising Him for His presence to help them through their painful times. What a witness to unbelievers!
So what can we do as parents to help our children develop this Christian resiliency? I’ll give you some ideas in my next post.