My kids are a huge part of my ministry. They go on visits with me, they serve in the church at age appropriate levels, and they come to love the people of God just like we do. Because of their love for the people, when tragedy hits; their little hearts are broken, sometimes deeply. It is in these moments that you as a dad and the shepherd of your home must speak truth and love into their hearts and help them to worship Jesus.
As I write this post my kids are going through this very struggle. A good friend of ours, the dad of my daughter Olivia’s best friend, passed away last night due to Covid complications, he was in his forty’s. Last night was tough at my house. My kids wept, I wept with them, and we cried until our eyes hurt. Sure we know that heaven has gained a great man, but our hearts break for the loss of someone that made such an impact on our lives.
As we got around for bed we took the time together to read our Christmas devotion and pray. We focused our prayers on our church family and the missionaries that God would call to reach the lost, and then we prayed for our family friend’s wife and kids. As we prayed our words turned to words of praise and thankfulness.
Listen dads, your kids are watching you. They are listening to what you have to say and we must help them to see that God is never-changing and always present, even in the midst of total disaster, even when those we love are hurting, God is still worthy of praise.
I encourage you in the midst of struggle and strife to find a way to teach your kids how to worship. Teach them what it means to worship God even when things go a different way, even when life just really sucks, in all things our God is good and his plan is perfect.
Psalm 34 begins by saying; “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”(ESV) Men, that should be our battle cry each day as we attempt to lead our family through tough times and good times, they are depending on you to help shepherd them through it all.
So, how do you shepherd your family when the pain of loss cuts them so deeply?
Be willing to weep with them.
The first thing you need to do dad is be willing and capable to weep with your kids. They need to know that emotions are ok. Jesus himself wept over the loss of a friend and the pain that death had brought through the first sin.
Your kids will all grieve and deal with death in different ways, and that is ok, as long as you help walk them through it. Let them work it out their way.
Be willing to worship with them.
Dad, you need to seek out opportunities to worship with your kids. That can be through song or reading, it can be through drawing or writing. God has given us so many ways to bring him worship. You just need to find a way to publicly show your kids that Jesus is still in control and worth praising, even if you struggle with it yourself in the moment.
Use the loss of a loved one to teach your kids about salvation.
In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians he writes in chapter four beginning at verse thirteen of the hope that we have in the resurrection because of Jesus. Because Jesus has defeated death and arose from the grave we can have hope as well, that through faith we can once again see our loved ones.
Paul ends that chapter by saying, “Therefore encourage one another with these words”. The greatest opportunity to share the hope of Jesus in salvation is often times in those tough moments. When everything begins to crash around you and the pain seems too great to bare, that is often times where we find ourselves at the end of our ability and our only hope becomes what our first hope should have been.
Your kids need to be lead to, fed, and watered at the feet of Jesus every day. Some days that is harder than others, but as a dad you have been called to pastor your kids and your wife to see the thirst quenching love of Jesus in the midst of the blazing fire of pain and loss.
Your work, Dad, is a noble work. Allow the losses in your life to affect your children, just be sure you help them navigate those losses by pointing them to Jesus every moment you are given.