How is it possible to keep being faithful when we see a child suffering? Children of all ages are missing some of what others consider a normal childhood like playing, running, laughing, going to school, or riding a bike because of the circumstances in their young lives. How does faith let us accept what these children are going through without being angry and loosing our faith in a loving Father?
In the wake of childhood poverty and starvation, childhood cancer and illness, and childhood gangs, abuse, and violence it can definitely shake our faith. I often hear statements from others using these life situations as an excuse not to believe in God, not to participate in religion, and not to take any charitable actions. And many times my answers may sound shallow to those who do not know our Lord and Saviour.
But my answer is always the same. I believe in our Father, Son of God, Saviour, and I believe through Jesus Christ all things are possible including a positive outcome from an awful circumstance if we stay faithful to Him who loves us. The problem for most is that we are human and we do not understand. These tips have helped me when sharing faith with both children and adults.
- Pray. Pray in whatever words come from your heart whether they are angry words, words that cry out in pain, or joyful words of praise. God wants to hear from us even if all we can do is sit in silence. Pray for others and ask God for direction and help for yourself. God wants us to rely on Him for the answers and faith comes when we seek Him and become confident that He will answer our prayers.
- Go Slow.Take one minute, then one hour, then one day, then one week at a time. Break the sad times into small tasks and goals so you can avoid being so overwhelmed with the whys. The actions you take to move into the next minute, next hour etc. are what come from the faith that God has not left you.
- Be joyful in all circumstances. Take the joyful times and be content. Praise God for the good and restful times, the times you can give an extra dollar or food item to help a hungry child or the times your own child is pain free. Breath in the fresh air of God’s peace in those moments and appreciate that your faith has gotten you here. Praying for joy to touch the hearts of those who are suffering is one way to pray with your child for other children around the world.
- Be giving. Give and share your prayers, your time, your money, and share your faith that God is in control. Let that faith be evident by keeping calm, reassuring to your children, and taking positive actions steps within your abilities in any situation. Many times the only action step you can give is your prayer, for there is no other answer within your control. Share that reality with your child.
- Keep a faithful attitude. Children begin learning about faith by following our examples. Show your child you are faithful and be honest about how difficult that can become sometimes.
- Share the Bible. God’s book is the best reference when it comes to examples of faith in awful circumstances. The Bible is our guide to remaining faithful when we become overwhelmed with the realities of the world around us. Children will learn by example to rely on the Bible for answers and will carry that with them.
Instilling faith into the hearts of our children or friends does not happen overnight. It takes prayer and experiences, actions and results. Being a faithful example and sharing your faith with your child are the first steps to keeping the faith when children suffer. With God all things are possible and that also means remaining faithful in times of suffering.