Coping with darkness in the news

By September 9, 2019

International (MNN) — Today, we’ve already talked about fires roaring across the Amazon rainforest and brewing war in Yemen. Last week, we covered Hurricane Dorian’s unfaltering trail of destruction, growing tension in India, the spreading reach of extremism in Africa, and mounting pressure against Chinese Christians. And that’s only part of what’s happening in the news.

These stories are sometimes difficult to hear, especially for kids. But according to Greg Yoder of Keys For Kids Ministries, these stories offer unparalleled windows into God’s plan at work.

“It doesn’t look like there’s a lot of hope,” Yoder says. “There are not a lot of people who are watching the news today because they are tired of the bad news. And frankly, I would be too, except I know the good news; we have hope in Christ.”

Keys For Kids wants to show young people the miraculous ways God works amidst tragedy to advance His kingdom and provide hope in the midst of desolation. They’re providing resources for kids, teens, and families via radio programming, the Keys For Kids app, printed devotionals, camp resources, and Storytellers.

amazon fires 2019

Fire detections from NASA satellite between August 15 and 22 across the Amazon rainforest.
(Photo courtesy of NASA)

Their material is designed to be easy to understand and helps kids interpret tragedy and struggle through a Scriptural lens. “Scripture clearly explains how to apply these lessons that we’re learning in these stories to their life and make it applicable to their everyday walk,” Yoder says.

Keys For Kids resources are also designed so that parents can not only participate in their children’s journey into faith but learn from it, too. “As parents, we need to model the fact that even when we go through these rough, difficult, unexpected, tragic times, that we have to remind ourselves that God is in control,” Yoder says. “[Imagine] if we can’t tell our kids that ‘Oh, my word, this is terrible. Yeah, it’s awful, but isn’t it good to know that God has it? God has our six, God has our back? God has it all figured out?’”

That’s not to say suffering won’t happen. This week’s news will still be rife with struggle and uncertainty. But Keys For Kids wants families to search those tragedies for specks of hope.

That’s why one of the most important and most common lessons Keys For Kids wants to teach is trust in God. “We can rest assured that God isn’t surprised by any of this; He has a plan in place, and He’s going to use it for His glory.”

It’s easy to fall into temptations of business that distract from time with Scripture, but Yoder urges parents to make space, even if it’s not for very long. “Sometimes you don’t have the conversations, you don’t have those times with your kids,” Yoder says. “[Keys For Kids] gives you an opportunity to, at least once or twice a week or maybe every night, you can open up those lines of conversation and communication and find out exactly where they are. Maybe they are struggling internally with fear, anxiety, and depression. Maybe they’re in the same situation maybe you were in when you were a kid, or maybe they’re pretty strong, and they’re going to help you get through your struggles. It can be a real win-win opportunity for kids as they go through this.”

Refugee camps in Lebanon (Photo courtesy Heart For Lebanon)

In short, stick with God as He works in even the darkest corners of the world, and pay attention to what’s happening so that you can see His handprints.

“The news is what gives you an opportunity to be relevant in your own culture. And if you don’t know what’s going on, how are you going to talk openly about something that you don’t know anything about? So watch the news, but watch it through the eyes of a follower of Christ, not through the eyes of the world.”

Check in with Mission Network News for daily updates on what’s happening in the world, how God’s people are responding to it, and what your place in the story can be. You can also browse the Keys For Kids website to find resources to help fuel your conversations with kids about God’s plan in the world.

 

 

Header photo courtesy of Unsplash.

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