I heard a new song on the radio the other day called Blessings, sung by Laura Story. The words to the song so stunned me that I nearly had to pull over the car to listen. If you haven't heard it, check it out here:
I know that God uses difficult things in our lives to help us grow, but this gave me a whole new perspective on the tough stuff that happens in life. Now, God never causes bad things to happen to us, but He doesn't always stop things from happening. The consequences of sin are that we live in an imperfect world with death, disease and tragedy.
But this song made me stop and reflect on the fact that sometimes it takes those things to get my attention. Sometimes in order to get as close to God as possible it takes a tragedy for me to draw near to Him. Sometimes the trials of this life are His mercies in disguise. I look back at moments in my life when I've dealt with stuff that at that moment I could not possibly believe I would find good in, but I find that those are the moments when my relationship with God grew the most.
If you look back on those moments in your life when you were at your lowest, you will probably find that God was right there with you, carrying you along. You may have felt closer to God at your lowest low than you did at your highest high.
Teaching our kids to look for God in the midst of trouble is an important part of helping them mature as Christ followers. Following Jesus doesn't put some magic shield around us that keeps us from dealing with any of the tragedy that happens in this imperfect world. Our kids need to know that God is there in the good times and the bad times, and they can rely on Him on all the time.
- When things don't go your child's way, remind them that God is always near. Draw your child a picture of a fork in the road. Explain that every time we hit a crisis, we can go down one of two paths. We can walk the road with God or we can walk away from God. God never moves, but we choose to walk beside Him or far away from Him. Walking the road with Him doesn't mean that the crisis will go away, but it does mean we can draw on God's wisdom and love as we walk that road.
- When your child is in the midst of a crisis, pray with her. Show her how to ask God to be with her and to help her deal with whatever comes her way. Ask God to be visible in the way He shows His love to her. Ask for wisdom in dealing with the issue.
- After the crisis has passed, help your child identify ways in which he grew through the crisis. Talk about anything good that has come out of dealing with the issue. Ask your child how he feels about how God helped him throughout the crisis. By identifying the ways in which God used something bad to create something good, you help your child see God at work. Remind your child of Romans 8:28, which says "All things work together for good for those who love Him."
Whatever crisis you're facing today or will face in the future, keep in mind that sometimes difficult things allow us to see God more clearly and feel His presence more keenly. They are His mercies in disguise.