With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow. (CEV) Proverbs 3: 5-6
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve probably become familiar disappointment, especially of things not going as you had planned. Like Paul and Silas, you have probably had moments when you looked around and thought, “How did we get here?” In moments like that, it’s important that we remind our children that the God who created the world knows what they are going through and hears them when they cry out. We can help them see the comfort that comes from knowing that they don’t go through hard times alone, but God is with them. We should teach our kids that it is okay, even good, to lament to God when things are not as they should be. In this way, we model for them that God is big enough to do something about what we are going through. God’s sovereignty can give your kids hope, just like it did for Paul and Silas.
Teach kids to lament
When things do go the way they hoped, ask your kids how they feel and why they feel that way. Take time to pray with them so they can hear what lament sounds like. Maybe you could use a prayer like this:
“Dear God, ____________ is feeling sad because they had hoped to see their friends today, but now they can’t. We know that you created us to enjoy friendship and that you are also sad when we cannot see our friends. I pray that my children will be able to enjoy the gift of friendship that you have given them with their friends soon. Amen”
Share stories of God’s faithfulness in your own lament
We know how the story of Paul and Silas in prison ends—God rescues them and the Philippian jailer and his family is saved. Sometimes, looking back on your own life you can see how God was with you in difficult times and perhaps used those circumstances to grow or shape you. Tell your kids these stories of lament from your own life. Be honest about how you expressed your disappointment when things didn’t go as you had planned, and describe the ways that God comforted you. Share with them the questions you ask God. Point out the ways that God gave you hope, and how God uses that hope now to help others find hope in God. Especially your children.
Remind yourself who God is
It’s not just our job to give our kids hope; that’s God’s job. But we need to experience hope as well! To help remember yourself that God is with you during challenging times, take a post-it note, and with your kids, think of Bible verses or songs that remind you of who God is or his love for you. Paste that note on the bathroom mirror or on the refrigerator door.
Moments of disappointment and frustration are part of life, may you show your kids through lament the comfort that comes from knowing that Jesus loves you, that he wants to hear about your life—both the good and the bad—and that he is with you through all of it.
Want to dig deeper? Check out Family Fire's article "Navigating Life's Disappointments."