We live in unprecedented times, full of all kinds of emotions. There's anxiety, confusion, sadness, anger, fear and so much more.
As teachers and parents, we feel these emotions, but we often forget that our kids are dealing with the same feelings. Now, more than ever, we need to be prepared to point children to Christ as the answer in all of these situations. We need tools to help us show children (and ourselves), that God is bigger than all of our fear!
Fear is common in children, even in the best of times. Right now, my 10-month-old is struggling with separation anxiety and he cries every time Daddy leaves for work. In his little heart, he doesn't know if Daddy will be back. He fears he'll never see Daddy again.
And, add to all of these common fears the situation in the world today. Then, there are other common childhood fears. Fears of the dark, being left alone, monsters, storms, etc.
In 2020, children are faced with fears that in many ways are taking away their childhood. Children today are afraid that they or someone they love will get sick and even die. They are afraid that they may not get to play with their friends again, or go back to school, or go back to church. They may be afraid something bad will happen because of their skin color. Or maybe they're afraid that they'll get in trouble because they can't keep their mask on at school all day.
As Christians, we know that fear is real, but thankfully we also know the One who has overcome all fear. We also have the best possible resource on overcoming fear through faith in Christ... God's Word. Think through the Old Testament for a minute. Think about the very real fears the men and women of the Old Testament faced.
- Abraham was scared his family would end with him, but God gave him a son in his old age.
- Noah had to have been scared stepping into the ark and watching the waters rise, but God saved him and started the world over with him and his family.
- Daniel was thrown into a pit of lions, but he trusted in God and came out the next morning giving all glory to God.
- David stepped onto the frontlines against a giant with a sling and a stone, but he knew that God is bigger than any enemy.
This is the God we need to point our children to in the midst of fear!
And, the Bible is packed with verses to combat fear. Here are just a few to encourage your heart and help you encourage the hearts of the children you love.
- Isaiah 41:11 - God is with us
- Psalm 56:3 - when the psalmist was afraid, he trusted in God
- Joshua 1:9 - God is with you wherever you go
- Isaiah 41:13 - God holds us in his right hand
- Psalm 118:6 - with God on your side, what can man do to you?
- Proverbs 29:25 - whoever trusts in the Lord is safe
It's in the midst of all of this fear, that the new curriculum "Faith over Fear" comes in. “Faith Over Fear” is a 5-week Sunday School series designed to point your kids to God as their hope and refuge. In these 5 lessons, students will be introduced to the concept of faith through the stories of some of the heroes of faith that we read about in Hebrews 11.
The lessons you will find in this unit are:
- Faith Over Fear – defining faith from Hebrews 11:1
- Walk This Way: Enoch – Walking with God takes faith.
- Moving Day: Abraham – God is always in control.
- Rock-a-Bye Baby: Moses – God is a refuge for His people.
- And What More Shall I Say? – the stories of those in the Old Testament who waited by faith - Jesus fulfills all God’s promises.
In-Person & Virtual Options:
These lessons are designed to be used in a Sunday school setting and are perfect for the back to school season this year. But we know that gathering back together may look different this year if it happens at all. So, these lessons are fully editable and customizable to meet the needs of your church.
Here is what one church is planning to do -
They will have teachers from the church record a 20-30 minute video each week, teaching through the large group materials and briefly introducing the family activities. Then, they will edit the lesson materials and send them to their families along with the video. Their plan is to take the take-home page and add in activities and discussion points from the younger kid small group lesson to provide families with 5 days worth of family devotional materials. They are also considering having a weekly zoom call where kids can see each other and briefly discuss what they have been learning.
If you choose to use these materials in a virtual setting, please let us know your plans so that we can encourage other churches.
We're so excited to be able to share these materials with you, but we also know that we're not the only good resources available out there. So, if you're looking to stock your church library, or want to recommend resources to your families, here are some good resources on fear/ sadness and suffering
Other Helpful Resources:
- Henry Says Goodbye (when you are sad) - these first 3 are from CCEF and are part of a series called "Good News for Little Hearts"
- Jax's Tail Twitches (when you are angry)
- Zoe's Hiding Place (when you are anxious)
- The Moon is Always Round - a sweet reminder of God's goodness in the midst of suffering
Please know we're praying for you!