Bible stories for strange times
In a recent episode of the Parenting for Faith podcast, Rachel Turner gave some wise advice on how to help children and young people find solid truth and wisdom in the Bible to help them navigate the coronavirus pandemic well, whatever they are feeling.
Rather than looking at biblical stories of pandemics and plagues (which aren’t usually very helpful!), she suggests that what can really help our children is to help them explore Bible stories that match the emotions they are feeling. When we do this, we frame for our kids that God cares about how they are feeling or what they are asking right now, and we can help them take their next steps with God in that.
You can listen to what she says here, and below we list the stories she suggested in the podcast together with others that might be helpful for whatever your kid is feeling.
Struggling with isolation and not knowing when things will end
Try the story of Noah waiting for the waters to go down (Genesis chapter 8). Wonder about what Noah was thinking, what he might have been saying to God, how he spent his time; and about where God was and what he was doing.
Missing your friends
All the New Testament letters, written to friends they loved and weren’t able to be with. For example, look at the beginning of Philippians and chat about what Paul said to his friends. Where was God and what was he doing?
Frightened by the bigness of coronavirus
Read the story of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20 when a whole army was coming to kill everyone. Look at how the whole community stood together to ask God to do something, and then discovered what God was already doing. Wonder together about how they felt and what kept them strong, and wonder what God might be doing that we can’t see yet.
Wishing you could do more
Look at the story of Nehemiah and the people rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. It was a job done by a bunch of ordinary people each doing the little bit they could: God used a whole community. How can you see that happening now? What is God asking you to do?
The story of the disciples in the ten days between Jesus ascending to heaven and Pentecost (Acts 1:1-14). Jesus, their hope for the future, had just disappeared and just them to wait until the Holy Spirit came. Wonder how they felt in that inbetween time; what they might have said or done to encourage each other. What might they have felt anxious about? Where was God and what was he doing?
Finding being with your family all the time difficult
Share the story of Joseph and his family (Genesis 37, 42-47). Chat about the best bits and the worst bits in their relationships. Wonder why God made them a family, and how God felt about the things that happened. How can you see God working in families now? What is he doing in your family?
Wondering where God is in all of this
Read the story of Jesus walking on the water (Matthew 14). The disciples find themselves feeling alone and in trouble, being battered by the waves for a whole night. How might they have felt about Jesus leaving them? Wonder about what questions they might have asked God during that long night, and what God was doing? What sort of questions might you have for God at the moment?
Rachel has written a book called Comfort in the Darkness, which retells Bible stories to help children explore night time and all the emotions that this can hold. You can download two sample chapters from the book here.