We always hope that we can help kids to understand and believe that they can “Trust God no matter what.” We can’t always give them real-life moments where this isn’t too easy to live out. Yet, we had a leader decided that this was exactly what he was going to do.
A few months ago, one of our small group leaders was diagnosed with cancer. It’s very treatable, yet of course the road ahead will not be easy for him. As he was thinking about the illness and God’s plan for him, he realized that God wanted him to use this as a teachable moment for the boys in his small group. He talked with a few of us on when and how he should bring this up, not to mention how to share with them with discernment and appropriateness. He brought such wisdom and care to the table as he talked about really helping the boys see that he trusts God’s plan for him.
This small group leader is a rock star. His love for God and his heart for these kids propelled him to use this time in his life as a learning experience for his boys. He truly understands that he is living life with his boys. He is a mentor and a positive voice helping them figure out what it means to live for God.
I asked him if I could share his story with the kidmin blogosphere. And thankfully, he said yes. I really think his story can encourage all of us to step out and take the risk to use the difficulties of life to help our kids grow in their relationship with God.
He talked with them this past weekend. He sent us this email filling us in on how it went. This is basically what he told them:
“Boys, I’m going to tell a short story and then ask you a question.
“When I was a little boy, about your age, I remember sitting in church and hearing about Jesus. I used to sometimes think about how long ago he lived. Does anyone know? Yes, 2000 years. I used to look around at all the adults and wonder, ‘Do these adults all really believe that we could really KNOW that someone was around 2,000 years ago?’ It seems like a long time compared to 6, 7, or 8 years, doesn’t it? (nodding heads) This was a question that I had growing up. Do any of you sometimes have questions similar to this when you learn things at church?”
“About a third of the hands went up. I told them that it is OK to have questions, because getting answers to them is the best way to learn about Jesus. I transitioned to ask them what they hear all the time in DV? That they can…Trust God…(and they all finished with) NO MATTER WHAT. I told them that even though we may sometimes have questions, we can always KNOW that we can always TRUST GOD no matter what.
“I then asked how many say prayers before bed at night. All raised their hands. (That response had me pumped!) I asked if anyone has ever had anyone sick in their family. Most raised their hands. I then told them that I was telling them the story of questions and reminded them that we can trust God because I was told by the doctors that I am sick, with a form of cancer that has to be removed, and that I am not worried because I know I can trust God. I told them that I wanted them to realize that when they learn these things in DV, it is not just something only for their heads but most importantly for their hearts. It is something for their whole lives so that when they face a situation that is difficult, they can remember what they have learned in DV and that they can trust God.
“I then said that Jesus also tells us to care about and pray for others. I asked them if they would include me in their prayers before bed, and that God would be with me during surgery and that God would guide the hand of the doctor so that he gets all the cancer out of me. I reassured them by telling them that I expect that the doctor will be able to do this and that I will be back very soon to teach them again.”
I’m so thankful for leaders like this guy who is willing to share life, the good and the difficult, with his small group. Often we fear that our kids can’t handle the truth, but when a leader speaks truth with discernment, kids can be drawn into a greater understanding of God at work in a person’s life. They learn with clarity that they truly can trust God no matter what.
And really, that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?
Also, I’d ask that you please pray for this small group leader throughout the next weeks and months as they won’t be easy.