What Children Need Most in a Pandemic, and Always

This week the blog is sponsored by Truth78 and the post is written by David Michael.

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Great News: Jelly Belly® reserves are strong and should be available to supply global demand through the pandemic and beyond!

Not that there would be a run on them, but for at least two decades of ministry, I’ve used these colorful little gems to cast vision for the next generation, showing how all things–even eating jelly beans–can be done for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Now I hope they will help me make a different point, one that matters deeply to us and to our children at this unusual time.

People are not hoarding jelly beans these days, because they are superfluous. Though they are sweet to the taste, they cannot sufficiently nourish. Even the sturdiest, candy-loving children couldn’t live on jelly beans alone–not in their diets nor in their discipleship and spiritual nourishment.

Much of what children consume may be entertaining, fun, and colorful–and with all the downtime caused by the pandemic, they’re likely ingesting lots of it. But we have an opportunity right now to give our children the solid, nutritious, life-giving truth of God’s Word. We’re especially tuned-in now to hear deep truths from God’s word–and not just the grown-ups. Children, too, are listening.

Consider, for example, “Come now you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there and make a profit…yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.” Has there ever been a time when these verses have been so relatable to such vast numbers of people throughout the whole world? None of us saw this “tomorrow” coming until, in a matter of days, our plans were changed, our routines disrupted, and our priorities shifted. James 4:13-14 has always been true, but this is the day to teach it to our children. In the midst of such unexpected challenges, they will hear and embrace it differently than they would have two months ago.

Monumental realities from God’s Word provide us and our children with unshakable hope at a time when the whole world seems to be shaking. When it may seem to our children that this virus is out of control, let’s make sure they understand that ‘the Lord has established his throne in the heavens and his kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). He says, “For every beast of the forest is mine…I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field…” (Psalm 50:10,11). Such truths assure children that every microbe, every virus, is God’s too, and He rules over every one of them.

What better time than this to show, from the Bible, the comforting reality of question and answer 27 of the Heidelberg Catechism:

Q: What do you understand by the providence of God?

A: God’s providence is his almighty and ever-present power,1 whereby, as with his hand, he still upholds heaven and earth and all creatures,2 and so governs them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty,3 indeed, all things, come to us not by chance4 but by his fatherly hand.5 (1Jer. 23:23-24, Acts 17:24-28; 2Heb. 1:3, 3Jer. 5:24, Acts 14:15-17, John 9:3, Prov. 22:2; 4Prov. 16:33; 5Matt. 10:29.)

The more children see God in the fullness of his glorious attributes, and understand his good providence over all things, the more their hope in God will rise. Knowing and embracing unchanging truth dispels fear in these troubling times. This is just as true for children as it is for us. Unwavering belief in Jesus and understanding of God’s ultimate purposes can aid us, and our children, to see all of life’s circumstances through a God-centered lens.

One of the ways we can reinforce great truth is by singing it. William Cowper’s great hymn God Moves in a Mysterious Way is one that is dense with truth and especially relevant for these times.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform
He plants his footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessing on your head

His purposes will ripen fast
Unfolding every hour
The bud may have a bitter taste
But sweet will be the flower

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan his work in vain
God is his own interpreter
And he will make it plain.

Let’s not miss the unusual opportunity of a pandemic to feed our children well and keep feeding them so that they will endure this storm, and those yet to come.

Today, Truth78 is releasing Zealous: 7 Commitments for the Discipleship of the Next Generations to help you. Our earnest prayer is that this book will inspire and equip believers to make the most of every fleeting opportunity to give their children and grandchildren a taste for Jesus, who is infinitely more satisfying than the fleeting flavors of Jelly Bellies®. No matter the outcome of the coronavirus, all who trust in him will live forever. He will strengthen and sustain them. He will be their everlasting joy.

For ordering information and to download your free copy of Zealous, visit Truth78.org/zealous.