If we weren’t actually living through these past few weeks, it would almost seem unbelievable to imagine just how much our world could change almost overnight!
Regardless of your original educational choices, most parents are finding themselves in the position of “Homeschool Teacher”.
Many dads (and moms) are suddenly trying to balance work and home all at the same time and in the same location.
Our kids are missing classmates, teammates, co-op buddies, and even just neighborhood hangouts.
As Christians, what should be our response?
While it would be easy, and quite frankly, understandable to find ourselves with a bad case of the grumpy “When-is-this-going-to-end?” whiners syndrome, as Christians we’ve been handed a priceless opportunity to restrain our flesh, model faith for our children, and reach our lost and frightened friends, neighbors, and unsaved family members.
It all starts with developing an eternal perspective!
I totally understand how hard it is to focus eternally, when the here and now can seem so unsettling and unsatisfactory. Our youngest son, Tate, is a Senior in high school. For him, the loss of his last sports season, (as Captain) his senior trip, his senior skip day, his senior prom, his senior prank, etc., etc., etc.,… is at best disappointing, and on his worst days… disastrous! How can we, his parents, help him to not only bear up under these days, but instead see them as an opportunity to be part of God’s eternal purposes in and through this trial?
How can you help your kids to develop that same perspective?
It begins with us, mom and dad. If we want our kids to realize that this is so much bigger than our own individual and personal disappointments, we’re going to have to internalize that truth for ourselves. We’re going to have to look at our circumstances for what they are- momentary light afflictions when considered in the light of eternity.
While our kids are facing discouraging situational disappointments, for many of us, we’re looking at lost paychecks, unpaid bills, and in some cases, jobs that have now permanently disappeared. Those are heavy, heavy burdens to carry. For us, I Peter 5:7 provides a shelter in this time of storm:
“Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.”
This little verse is so much bigger than it seems. The idea of casting here goes far beyond simply laying aside or putting off. The action that the Apostle Peter is presenting is the action of violently throwing off our cares and anxieties. Did you ever play Hot Potato or Time Bomb as a child? In the same way that you flung the potato or bomb to the next person so that you weren’t holding on to it at the end of the game, we are to fling our every care and anxiety to Christ. As we faithfully GET RID OF those cares, He is then freed to move and act on our behalf. By contrast, when we tenaciously cling to our worries, cares, and anxieties, we are in essence keeping the Lord from calming us, directing us, and carrying those worries that are too heavy for us to bear.
Casting our cares on Christ involves restraining our flesh and its desire to overwhelm us. It isn’t easy and it isn’t a one-time action. We may have to fling our cares over and over all day, but no matter how many times we do… Our faithful Lord is able and ready to catch and carry them!
As we begin the process of restraining our own flesh by casting off our anxiety, our children will then begin to see what faith in God “looks like.” As they witness their parents steadfastly praying, continuing to walk faithfully with God, investing in their much-increased family time wisely, and purposefully looking for ways to glorify God and minister to others in the midst of this mess that is Covid-19, they will be enabled to dwell securely in the middle of this storm.
Faith-filled and God-trusting families will then have the opportunity to use this crisis as a springboard to reach the lost and encourage other believers.
What can you as a family do to exhibit an eternal-focus to unbelievers and encourage other believers during this time?
- Remember that the unsaved too often find their strength and security in their physical well-being. This crisis hits at the very core of their beliefs. Reach out with words of hope and encouragement. Point them clearly and compassionately to the source of your peace. Let them see the reality of Christ in your family’s refusal to panic or dismay. Practice caution, but don’t disregard opportunities to extend practical acts of service.
- For most of the country, grocery stores are still open. Buy extra and use some of that excess food to provide a meal or two for older friends or overwhelmed mommies. Cooking together is a great activity to build family unity, and even more so when the cooking will result in an opportunity to bless someone else. Just let the recipient know when you’re there and drop the meal off on the doorstep. (Disposable containers are a bonus!)
- Take the time to correspond with friends and family through the mail. The USPS and the Surgeon General both have communicated that sending mail will NOT pass on Covid-19. Emails and texts are nice, but when people are self-isolating a hand-written note provides a tangible reminder that they aren’t forgotten. Think especially of the school-aged children that you could encourage through the mail. Write a card and enclose some stickers or coloring pages printed from the internet.
- Many news sources have been reminding folks to keep in touch with Grandma and Grandpa. (#doitforgrandma) That’s absolutely something we should be doing. But Grandma and Grandpa have a unique opportunity to build into their relationships with the family during this time, as well. Encourage them to use FaceTime to read aloud to the grandkids before bedtime or naps. Invite them to share a devotional on speaker phone during your family worship time. Perhaps your children could come up with questions and interview Grandma and Grandpa over FaceTime, then write a story to share with everyone based on their answers.
We’d encourage you to get a copy of our hardcover answer-the-question memory book, “We Weren’t Always Grandma and Grandpa” for your folks to fill in during this time of isolation. Just email us at contact@characterhealth and we’ll tell you how to get a copy!
- Reach out by email or text to the missionaries whom you know and find out exactly how your family can pray for them during this crisis! Use some of this new “home time” to pray together… Not just for your own needs, but for the needs of the Christian Church worldwide. Help your kids develop a bigger worldview than just their own needs, desires, and temporary disappointments.
This virus is no surprise to our God! Like anything else in our lives, He has two major purposes in it- Our Good and His Glory!Our job, our responsibility, in fact, our only focus should be to use these new and confusing times to bring Him glory. That’s it! We don’t have to worry about the “Our Good” part… That’s God’s job and He’s totally trustworthy to do His part!
And those who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee;
For Thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek Thee.
These days and this current crisis will pass. But how will you use the opportunities it provides for eternity? We Christians have been placed here for “such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14) Let’s make the most of the opportunity we’ve been given!