Any sane person consuming news media during this first half of 2020 is likely to feel discouraged right about now. A pandemic would be more than enough to cast a pall over any year, but the response to the pandemic of 2020—politicized as it has been—has in some ways been worse than the virus itself. Add to all that uncertainty the civil unrest of recent days and the surprising Supreme Court rulings of last week, and we have more than enough reasons to think all is lost.
It is apparent that western society has been cut loose from its biblical moorings and is now adrift on a tempest-driven sea with no will to power and no moral compass to guide itself in the right direction even if it had power. I heard one pastor sum it up this way recently: we are living in a time when the ant from Proverbs 6 is considered the bad guy. Those who can see we are headed for the rocks believe themselves helpless to avoid the looming destruction. These difficult times, however, are not without biblical precedent. In Psalm 11 David seems to be in a similar frame of mind to many of us today when he says in verse 3, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
Indeed. Abandoning the ship and sea metaphor, it is easy to imagine the Psalm writer is assessing our situation in 2020. The foundations of western civilization appear to be crumbling. David, however, later in Psalm 11 goes on to answer his own question about what the righteous can do by reminding himself that God is still on the throne and in control. He also comforts himself, and us readers, by remembering that God is righteous and loves those who do righteous deeds. Well, that’s a relief because we are God’s people. We are to do what He has required of us—righteousness, justice, and mercy—regardless of what is going on around us. We are to keep our eyes on Him, put one foot in front of the other, and continue to do the next right thing, walking by faith in God rather than by sight of what is happening around us.
That is a hard enough calling for mature Christians to answer in troubled times, but what of our children? This difficult season has surely multiplied their anxiety. Even if they are not daily watching the prophets of doom from the news media, they know things aren’t quite right. Familiar rhythms of life have been cast aside and all the adults seem tight as piano wires. Even when they cannot articulate it, they know something isn’t right. How can we go beyond bringing them normalcy right now to actually increasing their faith?
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is a prescription for increasing the faith of children. God instructs His people here to tell their children the story of how Israel had become God’s chosen nation so they would not forget who they were. All day, every day, no matter what activity they were engaged in, they were to diligently teach their children who God was and who they were. He knew they were about to see things happening all around them that would cause them to doubt, that would shake them to their core, that would make them think the foundations were being destroyed, so He wanted them to know beyond the shadow of any doubt that He alone is the Holy, righteous, and sovereign God of the universe. He wanted them to be sure in their faith so that when it seemed the foundations of the world were crumbling, they would remember that He is still in control. It worked. David remembered. How about you?
There has never been a more important time than right now to marinate yourself and your children in the Scriptures so that you can increase faith and rest assured that God is still in control. Tell them the stories over and over again so they don’t forget who they are in Christ and who God is even when it seems the foundations are destroyed.