“Mommy, why does God allow tornadoes that damage homes and hurt people?”
“Mom, why doesn’t God keep Christians from getting sick? Isn’t it Satan who wants Christians to suffer and be sick?”
As my kids get older, they ask more and more questions about the tough things in life. Recently, I’ve been getting questions related to God’s sovereignty and his control over all things. When I am unsure of how to explain a topic to my kids, I often look for a book from a trusted author to help me explain it in a way that they can understand. Sally Michael wrote a new study for children, God’s Providence, released this past spring. For regular readers here, you know that I have written and raved about her other studies. And again, I found her book, God’s Providence, to be an excellent tool and resource for helping our children understand God’s control over all things.
Like her other books, this book is written in a devotional format. Each chapter is short and covers a different aspect of God’s providence. Using stories from Scripture, such as Moses, Elijah, Job, the Israelites, and the Apostle Paul, the author helps children see how God is always “watching and working” in the world. Through the devotional stories, the Scripture readings, and the discussion questions, children learn that God is in control over all things. His plans always work, nothing happens outside of his will, and its all for his glory.
We live in a fallen world where sin has damaged and marred all that God has made. Bad things happen, evil exists, people get sick, and storms ravage the world. Our children need to have a foundation and theology on which to stand for when their life is impacted by trials and storms. They need to know what they believe about God and why, for without deep roots of faith in a sovereign God, they cannot stand against the harsh winds of life. The truths about God’s providence that children will learn in this book will give them great hope and comfort when life seems uncertain and out of control.
I had the opportunity to ask Sally Michael a few questions about this book that I want to share with you today:
1. What is the most important thing parent’s can do in teaching their children about God’s Providence? “The most important thing parents can do in teaching their children about God’s providence is to rest in God’s providence. By that I mean, to be an example of truly trusting that all that happens to us is according to God’s plan which is good and for our good.”
2. Do you find that this is a difficult concept for children to understand? “I don’t think God’s providence is difficult for children to understand provided that it is explained in an age-appropriate manner.” Is there a certain age that you think children are able to understand? “I think God’s providence can be explained to the youngest of children using simple vocabulary such as “God is the boss of everything” or “God is in charge of everything.” Their understanding is limited but they can understand the basic concept.”
3. How important is it to a child’s faith to understand God’s providence over all things? “I think understanding that God is sovereign over all things gives children the confidence that they can trust God in all circumstances. There are no situations that arise that are out of God’s control or contrary to His promise that all things work for good for His children. Understanding this builds a foundation of trust and confidence in God that grows as a child experiences life circumstances that in time prove God’s good sovereign hand in them.”
4. How should we handle difficult questions children might ask as they think about and process what they are learning? “I don’t think we should shy away from difficult truths. We should explain God’s sovereignty over evil and suffering in clear and age-appropriate ways. Children are able to handle difficult truths as they don’t yet have the emotional baggage that adults carry. God is able to take care of His reputation and to prove Himself good.” Should we be prepared to have an answer to every question or is it okay to sometimes say, “I don’t know”? “We should be prepared to answer children’s questions adequately and correctly. When we don’t know the answer, we should tell them so and do further study. Those things which are a mystery known only to God we should state as such and note the vast difference between God and man. God is incomprehensible and His knowledge beyond our understanding.”
5. Is there anything else you’d like to say to parents who will use this book? “Read the book more than once and begin to practice these truths in real life. Point out God’s sovereign hand daily and His providence over all things. As you demonstrate that you trust God’s hand of providence, your child will begin to understand true faith. Encourage your child to trust God regardless of how the circumstances appear and remind them that the “good” of Romans 8:28 is that we be conformed to the image of Jesus.”
Almost as much as I love books, I also love to give books away! Today I am giving away one copy of God’s Providence. The reader will be announced on Saturday, October 12. US residents only. *Update* Elissa is the winner of the book. Congrats, Elissa! I will contact you for your info.