O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
For by him all things were
created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones
or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17
Parents, you should not expect or trust the news media to
tell your children the truth about God and his power. The press of the 21st
century will not knowingly do that. “So,” you might reply, “what’s the point?
Of course I don’t expect the press to tell my children the truth about God.” Exactly!
So who will tell your children about the glory and majesty of God?
As parents you want your children to come to know Christ.
But you must remember that the world around you, which is under the influence
of Satan (Eph. 2:1-3; I John 2:15-17) is trying its best to misrepresent God
and discredit the power of his Son, Jesus Christ. The main agent God will use for
your children to learn the truth about God is parents. Instructing a Child’s Heart has a chapter that calls parents to
give their children a vision for the glory of God (Chapter 8). This, indeed, is
a high calling. That is why it is important to be aware of how the news media
is portraying the providence and actions of God.
When the actions of God are reported only as the random
slippage of fault lines, God has been dishonored by the telling of a
half-truth. By simply describing an earthquake in geological terms it appears
that major events that in the world are random and without purpose. When the massive suffering that results from
this earthquake is reported only in terms of human tragedy, God is actually robbed
of his glory. This type of reporting paints man as an innocent victim whose
life is held in the balance of random impersonal forces that may strike at any time.
What would a God-honoring conversation about the Chengdu earthquake sound like? Listen to this conversation with a 4th grader.
Hi Justin! How was
It was okay, except it’s
really sad about all those poor people in China and Burma. My teacher said that millions are homeless and thousands have died.
That is sad, Justin.
Yeah, my teacher said
that terrible things can happen to anyone. He said that these things happen and
there is nothing we can do. Mom, I’m kind of scared. What if that big
earthquake happened here?
Justin, why don’t you
come over here and sit down and we can talk about it.
Okay, mom. But I don’t
like it; we could all be dead or
homeless. The man on the TV news said the cyclone and earthquake were just
random events. What does random mean?
Son, random means
something that occurs simply by accident, without any plan or purpose. What do
you think about the word random, now that you know its meaning?
That doesn’t sound
right, mom. Remember at family worship last week? Dad said that Jesus holds
everything together in the world.
That’s right, Justin!
That is exactly what we learned from Colossians. So what does that tell you
about the cyclone and earthquake that you talked about in school?
Well, if Jesus holds
everything together then he knew about the earthquake and the cyclone.
Exactly. There are no
random events if Jesus is holding everything together. So even if something bad
happens, like that storm and quake, Jesus knows what is best and has a reason
for those things happening.
Well, why didn’t the
man on the TV news say that?
Because he probably
doesn’t think God has much to do or say about natural disasters.
Mom, are you saying
that even if something bad happens to us, like an earthquake, that Jesus knows
about it and plans it and we can still trust him to take care of us?
That’s exactly what I
am saying. Isn’t that comforting?
I think so.
Do you remember what
Dad says about the thunder?
Yeah, Dad says the
thunder is the voice of God and we should be amazed at how powerful God is. He
said that was in Psalm 92 or somewhere.
Actually, it was Psalm
29. Okay, let me read something to you from Psalm 77. The Bible says that God
displays his power in storms and thunder and earthquakes. Listen to these
13 Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16 The waters saw you, O God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
the skies resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked. Psalm 77:13-18
You see, Justin? These
events are a reminder of just how powerful God is. The cyclone and earthquake
weren’t random at all. They let us know that God is holy and no one is as great
as he is.
But Mom, what about
all the people that were hurt?
Remember that we also
read in Colossians that the world without Christ is a kingdom of darkness?
Yes, I remember Dad
making a big deal about that.
Well, God has ways of using
even tragedy to let people know that they must honor him as Lord. As this Psalm
says, God is displaying his power among the peoples of earth. Does that help?
It does, mom, thanks
for talking to me. Maybe we can talk about this more in family worship tonight.
I’m sure Dad would
God is an awesome God. Events are not random. Even in
devastation the power of God is displayed.
This conversation is not fictitious. It is a composite of
many conversations I have seen and heard. This is a way to balance the news and
other sources that leave out the wonder of God as he displays his power in this
Let me know your thoughts.
2 thoughts on “You display your power among the peoples”
With all due respect, it is not the media that I am fighting in instructing my children: it is the vast majority of the churches and church leaders who also espouse this same philosophy!! It doesn’t frustrate the children that the world doesn’t talk about God’s plan and direct intervention in the world, but it is totally discouraging to them that in church they hear that God does not plan these events. Many church scoff at the notion that God plans anything “evil”.
Yesterday Daniel and I were at the driver’s license station waiting so he could upgrade his license. The conversation of the girls directly behind us:
“How are you?”
“Great..Heard you partied after graduation.”
“Yeah, I partied HARD. They had to carry me in. I couldn’t even walk.”
“Wow! You OK now?”
“So what are you up to the rest of the week?”
“The youth group leader is takin’ us to Prince Caspian and it will only cost $5. Come. IT should be cool. We can go out after.”
The content of the conversation didn’t amaze Daniel as much as the fact that there was utterly no shame or remorse or even keeping the voice down. Everyone within three feet (and we were all packed in there!) could hear.
At the church we attend, the pastor truly loves the Lord and obviously studies His word and preaches faithfully from it. However, he has some vendetta about home schooling. Apparently someone finally mentioned to him that his anti homeschooling comments were a little overwhelming, and he explained himself by saying that his anger was not at homeschoolers, but at some man in the Southern Baptist convention who apparently suggested that families consider taking their children out of schools and teaching them at home. His anger is not at homeschoolers, he explained, but at some men in suits trying to dictate our lives. But then, why isn’t he mad that the government dictates that we HAVE to send our children to school?? Why is he attacking the person who suggested that there is an alternative? What he has said in effect to the children is that man’s law is truth and not to be questioned.
I am just saying that I think you are oversimplifying the problem if you think it is just “the world” that discourages children and leaves them so fearful.
One of the treasures I own is a platter my mom brought back from Thailand just after the Tsunami several years back. She found it on the beach in perfect condition, yards away from where many people lost their lives in a resort.
The missionaries in this area found many people willing to hear about God, because of this tragedy.
Your post reminded me of one of the stories that the missionaries told of the Christians in a particular village who had been persecuted. They requested permission to celebrate Christmas in the village, and were told no. They were required to leave the village if they wanted to do so, which they did. In this way, they were gone when their village was completely wiped out by the tsunami. These Thai Christians were now sought after by the people in the surrounding villages who had survived, who wanted to know more of their powerful God.
Perhaps this would be a good time to bring out the plate again. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.