Pandemic: Fear, Fun, or Fatal

This new strain of the Coronavirus has been sudden and powerful. Anxiety and worry have invaded every home. These two words describe, what counselors call, a suppositional fear. It is the “What ifs…” of life. The list of what ifs are many in the face of COVID-19. It is normal to worry and to have some degree of anxiety when our or our loved one’s health is at risk.

Growing up is hard enough. A child’s body, world, and language is in a constant mode of change. Facing change causes a certain level of anxiety all on its own. This generation is now facing a pandemic. We’ve been told that most children are not at high risk, but we know that some are. Wondering if it might be them can be truly terrifying for some children. Do you know what is going through your children’s minds?

As parents and teachers we need to make sure that our children know that when everything else around them is changing; God, who is ever good and faithful, cannot and will not ever change. His love for us is ever present watching over us for good so we never have to fear the changes He allows to come our way. James 1:16-17 (The Net Bible) “All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change.”
Spring break was extended for a week here in Texas. I am sure that many children began to imagine all the fun they would have. Will we creatively help them to have fun or will our anxiety and worry spill over into their lives.

Sitting at home like you are sick when you are not is hard to accept. Having never seen a person with this virus, the fear of getting it, for children, will most likely seem unreal unless they know someone who dies from it. They may experience more frustration than fear.

Teaching our children to be responsible in a crisis is perhaps the most important skill set they will ever learn. What better opportunity than this Pandemic. How does a Christian act responsibly in this kind of situation?
They don’t hoard. They don’t panic. They don’t take unnecessary risks. They don’t put others in danger by refusing to follow the safety protocols. They don’t despair or falsely prophesy the end of the world.

They pray. They seek wise counsel. They share with others in need. They follow the safety protocols. They take every opportunity to remind those they love that the end will come some day and sadly, the end has and will come to some through this virus. Sharing the Gospel in times of crisis is the believer’s most important mandate.

Praying before reacting examples for them how to trust His goodness. This of course takes practice. Practice in front of them. Don’t be afraid of failing, they need to know how to fail and get back up and try again. God will use everything in our lives to teach them if we let Him.God’s love flows through His people, your heart needs to be a safe place for children. Cranky kids who are quarantined at home will not make for a happy week off. We will all be tested by this crisis. As adults we know better how to deal with the disappointments and delays that come to us. They are just now learning. Let’s use this opportunity to help them respond instead of reacting to the tough things of life.

After all, God’s Word says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9 (NKJV)

Suzi Ciliberti works for Christar, a Missions Agency that plants churches among least-reached Asians worldwide. She served in Japan for two years as a single missionary and another nine with her husband and two children, then the family returned to the states. She and her husband have been serving in the US Mobilization Center since 2000. As a part of the Member Care Department, Suzi is consultant to families with children. She has been working as a children’s teacher since she was 17 and began her training under Child Evangelism Fellowship. She has taught in the church, as a school teacher for two years in a Christian elementary school, and as a speaker for adults training to work with children. She has also trained children, who are a part of families that work overseas, in their identity in Christ. She brings 44 years of teaching experience to her work. She loves creative writing as well as teaching and has found great fulfillment in combining the two as she blogs for Heartprints. She finds it a great privilege and joy to serve the Lord and His people. One of her favorite verses is Deuteronomy 4:10b, "Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children."

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