As Christian adults we have experience and biblical knowledge to cope when death comes into our midst. It is not easy, but we do manage to get through the various stages of grief.
But, what about our children and our teenagers who are processing similar emotions? They may not have the experiential faith that you may have. They may be silent, but that doesn't mean that everything is fine. They are exposed and experience the same shock that you do, but how are they handling it?
These are important questions because our children's minds race quickly as they sort through their thoughts and emotions--just as we do. Our little ones, teens and even young adults may be easy to overlook because we naturally gravitate to other adults. But children have developing minds and their mindsets, attitudes and faith are being formed. How they get through the traumatic death of a loved one, particularly of a peer, can contribute to how they mature and relate to their siblings, friends, future mates, superiors and God.
As leaders, we need to be ever so sensitive to our children who may be suffering silently and battling some of the big questions of life: Why did my friend [or family member] have to die? When and will I see them again? What does this mean? Why didn't God protect my loved ones?
What to do? Recognize first that our young people do want to talk, but they may need to be prompted and be made welcome to express their thoughts and feelings. Provide the opportunity for healthy and intimate conversations to take place. Encourage even the quietest ones to speak and ask questions without judgment.
When talking (and listening) to youngsters, be honest and realistic. Always tell the truth about what has happened. The Bible is the source to rely on: "Your word is truth" (John 17:17) and "the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Explain the most profound truths to children at their level, and in a loving and encouraging manner.
Tell them this: Human beings were created in the image and likeness of God, as it states in the first chapter of the Bible. Near the end of the Bible, in Revelation 21:4 Revelation 21:4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
American King James Version×it states: "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." This will be at time of the New Heavens and New Earth when God the Father comes to dwell with mankind eternally.
However, man was not meant to live forever in the human state: "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.
Yes, it's all right to cry and grieve. But, we are not without hope. We thank God for the honest promises that are right there in His Word for us to find comfort in.
Whenever someone dies unexpectedly, make a way for our children to ask questions and to express themselves. This will help us help them to cope and to have confidence in God's plan for their loved ones.
Let's be positive, hopeful and filled with faith. Lift one another up proactively. We have a great adversary who would like nothing better but to discourage, divide and destroy us. Don't play into his devices and keep your focus on the fact that God will never leave or forsake us.
Exceprted from ENews, 6/8/17, article by Vic Kubik