When Trouble Comes,
Are Your Kids Ready?
by Joey and Carla Link
September 6, 2017
Driving home from a family camp 13 years ago today, a man fell asleep and lost control of his vehicle. He hit us, throwing us over a guardrail. Even though I (Carla) was wearing a seat belt, I was ejected from the van, suffering severe injuries. I was able to go home after a 3 month hospital stay, but our lives have never been the same and never will be as I suffer medical repercussions from that accident still today.
A horrific car accident, your house being broken into and robbed, or you find out you have cancer; these are the sort of things we never expect to happen to us as Christ followers. We often think our life of faith is going to be all sunshine and roses and Jesus has failed us when things go wrong. But God clearly says all through Scripture that we will go through dark and difficult times. People still frequently say to me “I don’t understand why God would allow this to happen to you.” My response is “Why not?”
“Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
2 Timothy 3:12.
Have you ever thought about preparing your kids for tough circumstances? It’s like a toddler learning to run, he will stumble and fall and get hurt, but he will keep getting up and will run again. If your kids are going to live for Christ, they will make mistakes, stumble and fall. All God asks us to do is pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and try again, and again.
How do you prepare your kids for tough situations?
- Step up your obedience training. If your kids do not obey you without reminders and lectures from you at least 80% of the time, consider it time to work on training them in obedience training. For if they won’t obey you, why would they obey God in tough times? Both of our books, “Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Obey” and “Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think” will help you with this.
- Read Old Testament Bible stories to them. Ask your kids what the person in the story did to deserve such trouble. Ask them what they would do if they were in a similar situation. Joseph wore a coat his father had given him and his brothers ganged up on him wanting to kill him but sold him into slavery instead. David did nothing to King Saul for him to send an army after him to kill him. When given the opportunity to strike back and even kill the King, he said to his friend “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless?” (1 Samuel 26:9) What a powerful lesson to teach your kids when they are being treated unfairly by peers and friends.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
- Follow the leader. Right now we are all glued to the internet and television looking at pictures of the devastation in Houston, Texas after last weekend’s hurricane. Can you imagine thousands of parents comforting kids as they are leaving all behind to evacuate flooded homes? In moments like these you don’t want your obedience training to fail you or your kids.
God is bigger and has more power than the hurricane. That’s hard to imagine too, isn’t it. But that is how God can say with confidence, “I have overcome the world.” God will find a way to make it right for these families again. It is up to us to show our kids the way through tough times. I (Carla) recently shared with a young friend who was facing difficult medical testing how I got through it, something I had plenty of experience at. She used the things I shared with her and told me later she did feel God’s overwhelming peace in the midst of the tests.
- Teach them how to handle adverse situations. Start when they are young. When your toddler takes his brother’s toy from him, teach the preschool brother what he can do to work it out instead of hit him. As you continue to teach the appropriate ways to work through difficult situations as your kids grow and mature, it will become a part of who they are when they become young adults to deal with tough situations.
What you don’t want to do is frighten your kids when you think of preparing them for adversity. You don’t need to fill their minds with worst case scenarios. It goes back to this verse in Deuteronomy 6:6-7:
“These words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them
when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way.”
It is the parent’s job to prepare your kids to handle the unknown in the everyday circumstances of life. Staying on top of their obedience training doesn’t require filling their heads with the possibility of impending disaster. Putting their seat belts on is a matter of obeying the law, you don’t have to tell them what it would be like to get in a car accident without one. Keep the big picture in mind, but with kids, stay in the here and now. Have a plan to consistently train your kids’ character to be Godly and they will be able to handle whatever comes their way.
Teach your kids as Paul said in Ephesians 6:13 about what it means to put on and wear the full armor of God. He never leaves us unprotected in any storm, much less the worst of storms.
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes,
you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything,
to stand, stand firm then.”
As the Newsboys song goes
“Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning.”