Perspective – Talking to Your Children about the Midwest Floods

Your path led through the sea,
  your way through the mighty waters,
  though your footprints were not seen. Psalm

Last month I did a series of posts about the Asian floods
and earthquakes and how the news media reported these events. Because these
events happened on the other side of the world, they may not have seemed to be
of immediate concern. It’s too bad, but life goes on. But now floods have come
to the Midwest, the heartland of America. Many readers of this blog
live in that area. Here is a quick survey of this morning’s headlines:

Flood Waters Keep Rising

Floods hit food prices

Cities of Sorrow

Another Levee Breaks in Western Illinois, threatening residents and farmland


What was a half a world away is now here. The impact of the
flooding will be felt well outside the immediate geographic region. Food
prices, already on the rise from gas prices, will be impacted by the loss of
crops from the flooding.  What is the
biblical response? What do you tell your kids?

As we noted last month, even in the midst of tragic events
God is still God. Psalm 77 is a great comfort to remind us that there are no
random events. In the face of these mighty acts of Christ, it is appropriate to
ask (as the psalmist does), “Has God forgotten to be merciful? Is he angrily
withholding his compassion?" But it is also right to then find comfort in
the mercy and power of God, “Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is as great
as our God?”

You can say for sure that God is at work. These floods are
but a small example of the power of God. You can also tell your children that it
is right and important to pray for the folks in the Midwest who have been affected
by the flooding, especially their brothers and sisters in Christ. If you or
your church have the ability, sending some form of tangible aid is appropriate
as well. For sure, take time to pray for those whose lives have been changed by
these floods.

But, taking a step back, these floods show that this world
is not paradise. Our citizenship is in heaven. Until Christ returns, tears will
flow. The blessing of these events is that they point to the great God of heaven.
They display his power.

One additional thought on a biblical perspective regarding
these events – It is important not to read more into natural disasters than what is clear from Scripture. There is a tendency
to attempt to find some correlation between a major disaster and God’s
judgment. So, when a hurricane hits New Orleans,
it is perhaps easy to say they got what they
deserved. The same could be said about earthquakes striking Hollywood
and Las Vegas. China and Burma are non-Christian countries, so the
storm and earthquake seem to be judgment. But what about Iowa? Iowa
does not fit the stereotype. The American rural Midwest is not a place
we think of as “Sin City." Even the political pundits recognize Iowa as part of the Bible Belt—it is not on anyone’s Top 10 list of places begging for
judgment. Yet, in the past month powerful tornadoes and devastating floods have
ravaged this area. If not judgment, then what is God doing?

your children that this is just another indicator
of God displaying his power among the peoples of earth. In the last
month strong
earthquakes have shaken China and Japan. A cyclone had ravaged Burma.
Tornadoes have ripped through middle America. Some places in the U.S.
have more water than they know what to with and other places have
almost none.

We are now entering the hurricane season. These disasters are reminders
of God’s power and his control over this earth. Psalm 77 says, “I will meditate
on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.” God is displaying his
power. Only the people of God can know the true meaning of these powerful
actions. Your children need to know that man is not the victim of the random
acts of Mother Nature. God declares his power through the storm, whirlwind and
flood.  These “disasters” indicate that
the God of the universe is alive and that man is accountable to him.

Give your children a biblical perspective on these things. No
matter how hard he may try, man is not the ruler of this world. The Lord of the
wind and waves is pointing to a better place, a new earth and a new heaven. When
a favorite toy is broken, God has a better gift. When a town is washed away,
God has a better dwelling place. Raise your children with these spiritual
realities. Raise them from God’s perspective –the Judge of all the earth does
right. Only through the lens of the Gospel can you offer hope to your children,
to yourself and to those around you.

We will return to the current series on communicating the
goodness of God in the next post.

Shepherd Press