by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
When we liken modern family life to a very long road trip with everyone in the car together, there’s more to it than allegory. Children today do spend hours in family vehicles engaged in a variety of activities, like eating meals and watching TV, among other things. It’s a long way from rumble seats and Model T’s when kids grew up listening to The Lone Ranger and reading books in favorite hideaways. It’s a far cry from missionary life in the fifties and sixties where travel in an automobile was more likely along gravel roads than tarmac. Where In the tropics, rainy season led to adventures from hardened dirt roads through rusty-red quagmires.
Such was the case when we traveled back and forth between two West African countries. In dry season we left billowing red, dust clouds behind us. In rainy season we navigated around potholes and through stretches of shiny mud. I can still picture Frank stopping the car, taking off his shoes, getting out and walking through to the other side. He gauged the depths of mud by how far it came up beyond his ankles to determine whether we could drive through without getting stuck. As I recall, we inevitably felt a little anxious; we found it worrisome.
Is getting stuck in mud a legitimate worry? Here’s a question to ask sometime when you’re all together:
- What is the difference between trusting God for the future and worrying about it?
Jesus devoted a lengthy portion of the teaching in his famous sermon to worry and gave a command that might be one of the hardest for some of us to obey: don’t do it! He begins and ends the verses in Matthew 6:25-34 this way! You can dig into these verses together.
- Supply everyone with sheets of blank paper and some colored pencils and crayons and let each family member draw an illustration of something that impresses them from these verses – after you’ve read them aloud a couple of times together.
- It’s interesting that embedded in these paragraphs is the verse about letting our lights shine. How does this connect with refusing to worry?
- Instead of giving you other discovery questions, here’s a suggestion: Ask each family member to be prepared to share something in their life that they are tempted to worry about just now. After each one shares, give time for others to recommend ways to plan ahead and trust God instead of worrying. Perhaps help each other identify what this reveals about fearfulness and pray for one another. After some time check in on each other for a progress report.
- Put together a list of antidotes for worry that you’ve found effective. Post your list where everyone can see it. Return to this topic from time to time.
The Psalmist had some things to say about this. These prayers would be good to memorize.
Psalm 139:23, 24. Search me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Or Psalm 143:8and10. Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk for I give myself to you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? – Jesus (Matthew 6:27-NLT)
See also: Philippians 4:6,7 and 1 Peter 5:7