Ashes, Children, and God in Brokenness [excerpt]

I’ve thought about this lesson in my own life and in the midst of struggles I see in other adults, but I don’t often think of it with children. What would it look like for me as a parent to be more attentive to leading my children to discover God in the midst of pain—over and above my more obvious role of helping them weather it?

I wonder if we do ourselves and our children a disservice with the common spiritual encouragement: “God will not give you more than you can handle.” This oft-repeated phrase is not found in scripture. It is a misquote of 1 Corinthians 10:13, which talks about temptation, not suffering or pain. (I wish it were true that people are never given more than they can handle, but as a pastor I’ve seen many examples to the contrary). This well-meaning expression of encouragement, if you look carefully, has for its goal merely getting us through or past the pain, or trying to make it seem not as bad as it feels.

But when we embrace our human experience of suffering—which is really hard and something that requires the support of parents, friends, and church—we open ourselves to an experience of God and spiritual growth that cannot happen any other way. It took me too long to learn that. What would it look like to teach my children this truth? [...read more at Practicing Families].

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