3 Truths to Tell Your Children When Disaster Strikes

Over the past weekend we have heard countless stories of people who are trying to survive through Hurricane Harvey. Millions of people have endured tornados, hurricane force winds and unrelenting rain. The news keeps saying that the disaster is not even over as the rains continue to fall in South Texas and will through Thursday.

Times like these spark hard conversations with family and friends. In fact, one Houston family published an article about their struggle to ensure the safety of their children. Something different stood out to me as I read the article though. He mentioned some of the questions his 8 year-old daughter was asking.

When disaster strikes, our children can be deeply impacted by the event and how we respond to it. Our children begin questioning things, like we do, as they process the situation. Their lack of experience and understanding of trials can easily spawn feelings of fear that can make it harder for parents as we care for them.

God doesn’t want for our children to be fearful. He wants them to have peace. When we respond to our children’s questions by pointing them (and ourselves) to who God is, we give them an opportunity to seek God through the disaster and receive His peace.

Here are 3 truths about God to tell your children when disaster strikes:

  1. God is with us.

Immanuel is here. God is with us at all times. In the Old Testament God was always with the Israelites, even when they were in Exile. The Israelites would move the tabernacle as they moved. God led them by a pillar of cloud during the day and pillar of fire by night as they wandered in the wilderness. (Exodus 13; 25:1-8) In the New Testament, God was with His people when Jesus came to earth and walked among them in the flesh. (John 1, Luke 2) He is with us now as the Holy Spirit which resides in the spirit of those who have put their trust in Him. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go….”
– Genesis 28:15

  2. God will provide.

When God created the world, He made sure that everything that we would need to live was available for His people. During the exodus from Egypt He made sure that the people had exactly what they needed by providing what they needed to eat by providing just enough manna for the day, and their shoes never wore out. (I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had shoes last for 40 years.) (Exodus 16; Deuteronomy 29)

During my childhood, my family experienced God’s provisions many times without my knowledge. There was one time I remember when all we had to eat was a loaf of bread and some peanut butter. My parents had all of us pray for God to provide that night as we ate our peanut butter sandwiches. The next morning a couple of ladies from our church came to our door with bags of groceries in the arms for our family.

“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 4:19

If God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He can provide for the needs of His people. (Psalm 50:10)

  3. God sees and knows the situation you are in.

When Hagar had to flee from Abram’s home because Sarai no longer wanted her around, God brought her comfort. He told her that He would greatly multiply her offspring. Hagar said, “You are the God who sees me.” (Genesis 16)

When the disciples were in the boat on the stormy seas, they were filled with fear. They didn’t know what to do, so they turned to Jesus who was asleep. (Luke 8) Jesus knew they were experiencing fear, and He calmed the storm.

God sees and knows our deepest fears and disappointments. He knows when we are walking through the fire of brokenness and despair. He also sees us when we don’t sense His presence, and He cares for us just as He did for those who trusted in Him.

Everyone experiences times in their lives when they encounter a disaster. How we respond to the disaster will impact our children. We can encourage our children to trust God in the storm when we point them to Him.

photo: freeimages.com/Bob Smith