I was in a panic. The fire alarms were going off. My worst night mare, dying in a fire, was coming to life. Without a moment’s hesitation, I bounded out of the bed and rushed out the hotel room door determined to get down to the first floor as fast as humanly possible. But in my hurry, I forget one thing, my parents. After a few steps down the hallway, I realized my mistake and fled back to hotel room door and began pounding on it. I was in a panic.
In Mark 4:30-40, we find Jesus disciples in a panic. They were not caught in a fire. They were caught in a terrible storm that threatened to kill them. As each wave crested over the boat, death seemed more and more probable. They began to be overwhelmed by fear.
And they are not alone. Many Christians today struggle with fear. Many of our believing kids struggle with fear. When they lose games, fail tests, and lose friends they can tend to panic. So what do we do when life goes bad? We remember these three truths:
1. We need to tell our kids that suffering does not equal punishment. God allows the disciples to go through the storm with Jesus. Following Jesus does not mean we get our best life now. Salvation does not mean we will have all the friends we want, win all the trophies we desire, or earn the grades we think we need. As the Pastor Lloyd-Jones said,
If we are living the Christian…on the assumption that it means…you will never have any more worry in the whole of your life, we are harboring a terrible fallacy…a delusion.
In John 16:33, Jesus clear says his children will experience, “tribulation.” We must not be surprised that we encounter struggles. And we must encourage our kids to not be surprised that they face storms in this life.
2. We must tell our kids to stop letting their circumstance control them. When I panicked and when the disciples panicked, we were looking at one thing, our circumstances. I thought I was about to die in a hotel fire. They thought they were about to die in a storm. And we panicked. We panicked because all we could see was our surroundings. We forgot to focus on God.
We must teach our kids that circumstances are not the measure of God’s love for us. The losing of a game, a bad report card, and the death of a grandparent do not mean that God hates us. Trials do not mean that God has forgotten us. In fact, Romans 5:3-5 clearly states that God uses trials to grow our faith. God brings blessing through hardship. If we have a kid who is in a panic, we need to point them to God. Instead of talking about their grades or softball stats, talk to them about God. Help them shift their focus off of their circumstances and onto heaven.
3. We must encourage our kids to trust God. The disciples panicked because they lacked faith. We panic and our kids panic when we lack faith. When we forget that God saved us, when we forget that God gives us everything we need, when we forget that God rules and we panic. The solution for panic, the antidote for panic is faith. It is not a blind faith. Rather it is a faith in the character of God that has been proven in the Scriptures and throughout the centuries. Once I got back in the room and trusted my parents to get us out safely, things went well for me. We all got down to lobby and discover it had been a false alarm. Only faith can cure the panic.
Now admittedly, we may not feel like believing God. Our kids may feel that losing the tournament championship really is the end of the world. And this is why we need faith. We need to recall the Scriptures. We need to recall that all things are working together for good (Rom. 8:28). We need to recall that God loves us. And then we need to believe. We must exercise faith even when we don’t feel like it. We should take our concerns to God and affirm that we trust him. As I Peter 5:7 says, we are to be “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” If we will trust God, he will deliver us!