God-Worshiping: God’s presence in the midst of hard times.
Saying the memory verse together at suppertime will imprint it on the hearts of your children forever.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.
It really seems counter intuitive to consider trials an occasion for joy. But that is what the Bible tells us they are. So why would we consider these things an occasion for joy? A few reasons I can think of are 1) that we will experience God’s care in new ways and 2) our joy can be a witness to others of our complete submission to and trust in our God.
Paul and Silas sang when they were jailed put into stocks. How can we sing in our suffering? By being grateful, not necessarily for the trial or the suffering itself, but rather being grateful for the gifts that God gives us while we suffer. Do you have family that loves and cares for you? Do you have people praying for you? Preparing meals for you? Sending you notes of encouragement? Do you have doctors and hospitals nearby? Is the medicine you need available to you? Have you had past experience of God’s mercy and care that can give you hope? Do you feel God’s presence with you? Have you thought about all the magnificence of our God, all the things about him that can give us joy and admiration? These are all reasons for singing in suffering. Singing about our wonderful God gives us the right perspective on our current circumstances.
When your children are experiencing setbacks, you can teach them how to find joy. But don’t downplay their pain. Listen to them, recognize their pain, empathize with them, and gently guide them to recognizing God’s gifts. This will instill in them an attitude of gratitude that will serve them all their lives.
JUST THE FACTS
How well did you listen to the story?
Q. Why was Liz so unhappy when he set off for school?
A. Oatmeal for breakfast, rain cancels field day at school, and his dog runs away.
Q. How about Spike, why is he unhappy?
A. His Z-box game console broke and he has to wait to get a new one.
Q. What happens as they walk to school?
A. There is a bad storm and they take cover under a bridge near an old warehouse.
Q. What does Lucille do when it seems that they have been buried alive?
A. She starts singing.
This question is meant to help the children develop a biblical understanding of God, who He is and what He does. The "answer" is not meant for parents to read to their children. Rather its purpose is to assist parents in guiding the conversation to this biblical understanding. We encourage you to use an open Bible in this conversation, building biblical literacy and well as a biblical theology.
Why should we consider joy in our suffering?
Because then we are following Jesus’ example. No, he did not sing while he was being beaten, mocked, and nailed to a cross. But he focused on “the joy set before him” (Hebrews 12: 2), to help him endure. And that is where our focus needs to be—on Jesus, on heaven, on the glory of our God. Everything else pales in comparison.