Idolatry-Discerning: When Bad Stuff Happens
Saying the memory verse together at suppertime will imprint it on the hearts of your children forever.
In this episode Liz asks the question, "Is Christianity worth it?" But is this the right question to ask? Are we Christ followers because it's worth it, or because we are loved by God and we love him back? There is some part of us that wants to be rewarded for following Christ. Somehow it only seems right that if we belong to the God of the universe we should be sheltered from the harshness of life. But that isn't what happens, is it? Very often those who follow Christ seem to have a harder time in life-they get sick, they lose their jobs, they are hungry, they are swept up along with everyone else in the calamities of war or weather.
The question Liz poses in this episode is also asked in the Bible. Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1:13), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 12:1), and Asaph (Psalm 73:3) are just a few of the Bible writers who struggled with this. In fact Psalm 73 Asaph says, "Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning."
But Psalm 73 offers an answer to its own question when Asaph writes, "When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny (verse 16-17)." One of our comforts when we suffer in this life is that in the next life-eternity-all things will be put right and we will fully enjoy our inheritance as God's children. Of course, while we live on this earth, we extend the call of God to all who will hear so that even those who are our enemies may respond to God's love with repentance and faith.
The Psalm ends with a powerful declaration, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds (v. 25-28).
JUST THE FACTS
How well did you listen to the story?
Q. Name three “bad” things that happened to Liz?
A. He gets a “C” on his math test; he loses out on winning the LRE game system he wanted; and Grandpa Anole hires Skink instead of him to trim his hedges.
Q. What does Liz do instead of going to Bible study?
A. He hangs out with Spike.
Q. What does he get caught doing?
A. Spray painting a railroad car.
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.
When bad things happen, does that mean that God doesn’t love me?
No, God loves his children with an unfailing love (Psalm 13:5). So, bad things do not mean God doesn’t love you. In fact, sometimes they may mean that God loves you very much (see Hebrews 12:5-11). Other times bad things happen because God has allowed them into your life for a reason that you may never know (Job 1 & 2; John 9:3). But no matter the why, it is most important for us to trust God to be doing what is right for us and for his kingdom.