Talking About Pain and Suffering With Our Kids

silhouetteThis morning my children came and snuggled with me in bed. This is not the norm, as I’m usually up and at ‘em before they’re awake. But this morning, weighted down with a heavy heart, I stayed in the comfort of my covers a little while longer. Praying. Yearning. Pondering and trying to make sense of the hurt in our world. Marinating my troubled soul with the salve of God’s Word.

And so in the midst of heaviness, the kids ran into the room, climbing up and into my comfy bed like puppies. Roly-poly, pell-mell, tumble-bumble.

It took their childish eyes a few minutes to realize that mama had been crying. Bringing instant questions if everyone in their little world was okay.

And as I stroked their backs and quieted anxious hearts, breathing in their fresh perspectives and clean hair smells, I told them bits and pieces of what had been happening in the news lately. How sin and misunderstanding and hopelessness had crept in, leaving darkness in its path.

They peppered me with questions. Why would God allow such a thing? Can’t He see what’s going on? Why doesn’t He stop all the evil and force people to be good?

We talked about free will and how “we live…” (as our pastor so eloquently puts it) “…in a good creation gone bad.” How hurting people hurt people. That since the Garden we have tried to control, doing whatever it took to be lord over our own lives. And what we truly need is a Savior to fill the hurting void. To surrender our lives to the Ultimate Rescuer who can and will make all things right again.

As children who want to comprehend everything, it’s hard for their little minds to wrap around the fact that there are many things we do not understand and may never understand this side of heaven. Pain. Suffering. Hurt. Brokenness. Anger. Cruelty. Fear.

And yet, as my son pointed out, we are not without hope. There is One who cares; who has always cared. The One who knows the number of hairs on our heads. The One who collects our tears in His bottle. He knows all. And sees all.

Hope is not dead, but is alive and thriving. Through Christ. In us!

So as we snuggled, we prayed. Asking the Lord to give us hearts that trust. That even though we don’t grasp all the whys, we would trust His heart. Trust His ways. And trust His plans.

And when our words ran out, I prayed as the Psalmist prayed,

Here my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the ends of the earth, I cry to You. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the ROCK that is Higher than I.

No life-altering solutions had been found. In fact, nothing had actually changed in our world. But our hearts were resting. Still saddened, but trusting in the One who controls the wind and waves.

For He is still on the throne. He does not grow weary. He doesn’t sleep. And I am convinced that as our hearts hurt, He hurts right along with us. For He is God-With-Us. Immanuel.

And so we cuddled some more. And hugged awhile longer. And for a moment, all seemed right in the world.

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Father God, You know these kinds of conversations are tough and rather uncomfortable. And we admit that often we’re scared to talk about the difficult things because we want to protect our children from the brokenness of our world. But Lord, we don’t want to waste these opportunities and teachable moments to urge our children toward You. We want them to see You in all things, both the hard and the good. And so we pray for their eyes to be awakened to the rampant needs around us, that the doors of their hearts would be open to compassion, and that Your love would take root within their very beings. May our children be light-bearers and truth-seekers, for Your glory. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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Anne-Renee Gumley

Anne-Renee is a full-time mom who works part-time at her family's party store. She has two children who keep her laughing, a husband who keeps her smiling, and an itch for writing that just won't go away.
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About Anne-Renee Gumley

Anne-Renee is a full-time mom who works part-time at her family’s party store. She has two children who keep her laughing, a husband who keeps her smiling, and an itch for writing that just won’t go away.

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