We were planning to launch this series about Tough Questions From Christian Teens in August when teenagers return to school from summer break. However, this is a good time to share some thoughts with parents about talking with their teens now.
As more and more states are issuing ‘stay at home’ orders, our teenagers are experiencing more stress and uncertainty about their future. Millions of Americans are losing their jobs, which is another strain on teens. They are cut off from their friends, classmates and extended family members – even more stress.
So, is it time to talk? I think so. This is a great time for fathers and mothers to talk with their teenagers and share honestly about their own thoughts and feelings concerning this difficult time.
Tough times bring out the ‘real’ in adults and teens. Even the strongest of us can feel weak and despondent in the face of growing obstacles in life. If there was ever a time for parents and children to talk openly and honestly about life and about God, now is that time.
Where to Begin
I recommend Christian parents begin with the truth; the truth about their own thoughts and feelings and how their trust in God is what supplies their emotional and spiritual needs. We may think now is not the time to admit weakness, but it may be the best thing we can do for our children. They need to know that their parents depend on God for everything.
On the night He was arrested Jesus admitted weakness first to His disciples, then to His Heavenly Father.
“And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.’ He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:33-36
Jesus is the strongest Person I know and He admitted weakness in the face of what was before Him. His determination to finish His Father’s will points to Jesus’ tremendous strength.
Paul was another strong person. He also admitted weakness.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Both admitted weakness. Both accepted God’s will and trusted His purpose. Both shared their struggles with their disciples. We can do the same with our children. We can admit weakness, acceptance of God’s will and trust in His purpose.
Admitting weakness, acceptance and trust will most likely lead to questions that often begin with the word ‘why.’ Why is God allowing this virus to affect our lives? Why doesn’t God do something about the virus? Why can’t we see our friends? Why did this happen now when I have so many things going on at school? Why can’t we go to church? Why is this happening to me?
If you’ve heard any of those questions from your teens, how did you answer? I’d love to hear from you. You can share your answers in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll share some of the answers in future articles.
If your teens have not asked you those types of questions yet, how do you think you’d answer? I’d also like to hear from you.
This is a great time for Christians to support one another. We may not be able to meet with each other right now, but we can offer support. That might be prayer or words of encouragement or advice. We are using Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, phone and text to keep up with our family and friends. It’s one way we can ‘support’ them.
Jesus told us that we would have ‘trouble’ in the world. He also told us to “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Jesus died on the cross, was buried, rose from the dead, was seen by hundreds of eyewitnesses and ascended to the right hand of His Father in Heaven. Jesus has “overcome the world.” He will take care of us in this life and the next.
Talk with your teens. Pray with your teens. Study the Bible with your teens. This is a time your teens will remember for the rest of their lives. Years from now when they look back on tough times in their young lives, they will remember what they did and what you did. What they will remember is something that is in our hands right now.
Before we go, here are a few favorite verses you may find encouraging and helpful as you talk with your teens.
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” Romans 12:10-13
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
May we use this time wisely for the glory of God and the good of our families.
Our prayers are with you!
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