Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Preparing Your Children for Trials

The trials of life are meant to give us patience right?

This means that as a Christian, we should enjoy the trial, right?

Paul sang in prison in the midst of filth and most likely pain, so we can do it too, right?

Right and Wrong.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:2-5 ESV
We can't do it. I don't know about you, but I lack wisdom. Every day I lack wisdom, and I do not always ask for it as I should. Wisdom in trials is something that is essential. When you give birth to a child with special needs, you need wisdom. When you find out that you have cancer, you need wisdom. When a loved one dies, you need wisdom to get through it.
When we do not have wisdom, we have to ask for it without doubting. It is hard to do. It is hard to have faith in a trial, but God knew that, or He would not have had James add the phrase "If any of you lack wisdom." It is a given that we will have them, but handling them with wisdom is what we often need to go to God about.  
We can live in trials with joy, but there will be sadness. We have to endure the trial by staying steadfast in our belief that God is in control of the situation. There will be moments of anxiety, but we are commanded to be anxious for nothing.
We will experience trials, and it will not be easy to be joyful. It will be a battle. This is something that I think is essential to pass on to our children. It is easy to not want to go into this with our children, because we don't want them to have trials. We don't want them to go through what we have gone through, so we make joy in trials seem easy. We say to look at Paul, we say that these trials will give us patience. Although these are true, they are false as well.
In Romans 7, Paul, the man who sang in prison displays the age old struggle that we as Christians go through - The good that I want to do, I do not do, and the evil that I do not want to do, that is what I do. The end of the passage ask who will deliver Paul from this struggle, and he says that he is thankful that only God through Christ can help. This is the struggle of the man who sang in prison. He wanted us to know that it was only through Christ that he could do that.
I'm thankful for that verse. It reminds me that even though I am a Christian, there is still a battle within me, and it was not just within me, it was also in this godly man who called himself the chiefest of sinners.
As someone currently going through a trial that ebbs depending on the week, I know how easy it is to get lost in the trial, to forget to look to God with it, to become grumpy and bitter, and then suddenly realize that I am not letting Christ live through me. If I were constantly talking to God and asking for the wisdom that I lack, that would never happen.
Do your kids a favor, prepare them for the inevitable trials. It might begin as something like losing a favorite pet, to breaking their engagement with their fiance, to having a child with special needs. Each of these trials will seem big at the time, but when you get to the next one the past seems so insignificant. Preparing your children for trials by preparing them to seek God in trials is essential. Helping your children through trials by encouraging them to pray for wisdom is essential. Don't let them sit and think about how the trial hurt them. Don't let the focus be on self. Let the focus be on Christ and seeking His wisdom.
May my sons go through the trials in their lives better than I have in mine.

1 comment:

  1. I feel bad that my children have to go through this trial with me. I pray that they will see how much closer I am to God and how much stronger my faith is.