Editor’s Note: This blog post is also the lead article in our April 2020 CPYU Parent Page. In an effort to serve you well during the Coronavirus, we are waiving our normal subscription fees. You can download a free copy of the April 2020 CPYU Parent Page here. Feel free to distribute hard and/or digital copies as you wish.
Our beginning-of-April-2020 world looks little like the world we knew at the beginning of March. In the course of a matter of days, the Covid-19 virus has changed so many things in terms of how and where we are spending our time. As parents, we are home. . . perhaps almost “stuck” at home. . . as we do what’s now called “social distancing.” Your kids are home as well. Let’s be honest. . . the close quarters are making life difficult for so many. How should we navigate these realities?
Years ago, I was expressing frustration to a friend regarding some trying circumstances. He challenged me to look into the Bible to discover how God uses the challenges we face in life to take us out of ourselves and form us into the people He desires us to be. My friend encouraged me to embrace difficult providences. “Providence” refers to the fact that humanity and our world are not ruled by fate or chance, but by God. He directs human history and all creation toward the goal of conforming us and our world to His divinely determined goal. Because God wants to do great work in our lives, He sometimes allows us to endure difficult circumstances to bring about great good.
Think for a minute about the Old Testament story of Joseph being sold into slavery in Egypt (Genesis 37-50). When Joseph eventually told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good”, we see how God used a difficult providence to serve His own redemptive purposes. The Psalmist reminds us of the blessed outcomes of difficult providences when he writes, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (Psalm 119:71).
My friends words to me about choosing to become bitter or better as a result of my difficulty have come back to me over the course of the last few weeks, and they have served to remind me that God is at work in my life and in the life of my family through the current health crisis.
We will be more prone to parent well through this pandemic if embrace these “close-quarter” days as an opportunity to spend our time together as a family well. Why not make a plan to eat dinner together each evening, using these three strategies to foster both spiritual and relational growth? . . .
Read the Bible together. One plan would be to read a Psalm, a Proverb, and a few verses from the Gospel of John. Discuss what each teaches you about God, about humanity, about God’s will and way for our lives, and the enemy’s schemes to undo us.
Pray together. Go around the table and have each person share something they are thankful for that day, along with something for which they desire God’s help. Thank God for the work He is doing in our lives, even if at this time that work is unseen and yet to be revealed.
Open the lines of family communication through good discussion. Be sure to follow the ground rules for good communication, and ask open-ended questions. To help you accomplish both goals, you can log-on to cpyu.org and find our “Quarantine Communication” help sheet.
Parents, don’t waste this opportunity. Today’s social-distancing is affording us an occasion to fulfill our God-given responsibility to grow in our relationship with our kids, to help them understand that God is working in His world and our lives, and to invest in their spiritual growth!