I miss being young and naïve. Thinking and imagining what life would be like when I “grew up.” I miss that young self-centeredness that makes you feel invincible—like you could change the world. I miss that excitement for life and the belief that lasting love was going to be my story as it was my parents and grandparents. The belief that forever means forever for everyone and that honesty, trust and goodness are traits in everyone. I miss not knowing what I know now and what I didn’t know then. I miss believing that love is out there for me and that sweetness of youth that allows one to believe that all things are possible. I miss when I thought that I was smarter, wiser and more gifted than my parents. I miss those days of coming home after school to music playing and my mom cooking in the kitchen and her being able to remember everything I said. I miss the easy days of friends and church and instant companionship. I miss planning how life was going to turn out and thinking that if I just stuck to the plan, …well that the plan would work out.
But the truth is, life is hard. It throws us curve balls we don’t expect. Some can be awesome and amazing like unexpected laughter at an inappropriate moment. And other moments in life can hit you square in the face and knock your lights out, like a rogue baseball, clocking in at 90 miles an hour.
So how do we help our kids when they get hit by a foul ball? How do we prepare them for the foul balls of grown-up life? The miscarriage, the unfaithful spouse, the difficulty conceiving, the chronic debilitating illness, the divorce, the job loss or failed business, the depression, the loneliness, the loss of a close friend, the sick parent, the death of a pet, the unfairness of life—when it seems like everyone else is doing well and living well except them.
First, …we must recognize that this earth is our temporal home. As hard as some days are, when compared to eternity they are but a blinking—the briefest of times. As my mom always says, “Nothing stays the same forever.” Time passes and the stinging pain that loss causes dissipates a bit. Other things will not be made right this side of heaven. Those are the hardest things to handle and they are the things that require our greatest trust in Christ.
Second, it is imperative to remember that God is on our side. He aches for us. He never causes these horrible things that happen in our lives. He grieves with us, so much so that the Bible tell us that He collects our tears.
Psalm 56:8 says,
You have kept count of my ;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
In other words, God knows what is happening to us. He remembers everything that causes us pain. We can trust Him because He will not forget about us.
Third, we should praise Him. This is not easy when we are hurting. But we should praise God because when we do so, it turns our hearts back to Him and who He is. It keeps us from growing bitter. It focuses us on Him and not on ourselves. This helps us from becoming self-centered and depressed.
Fourth, we need to encourage our children, young and old to stay in the Word of God. It is so easy in our day of instant everything to not want to take the time to sit quietly and read God’s Word. But we need it. It the only way to get through the day. It gives us the direction we need to navigate problems. It is our instruction manual for life.
And as always, pray. Prayer is our way of communicating our needs, desires and hurts to God.