Helping Your Child Find an Anchor in the Storm

Today’s blog post is by guest author Doug Congdon. Doug is a graduate of CPLS, the Family Ministries Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church, and father of Darcy in 1st grade.

For over a month now, my sweet 6-year-old daughter came home from school singing Christmas songs in anticipation of the Christmas concert.  If I’m being totally honest with you, after the 30th time through “O Christmas Tree” I wanted to tell her to go sing in the closet, but her excitement was so endearing I just let the assault on my eardrums continue unabated.  When the announcement came that the Christmas concert had been cancelled, I was heartbroken for my daughter.  How in the world was I supposed to tell her that what she’d been working toward and looking forward to for months wouldn’t be happening?  I dreaded that conversation.

I recently read a friendly reminder that parents need to be thoughtful about how they react to school closures and event cancellations, because their children will watch the way they respond and take their emotional cues from it.  As someone who is generally quick to voice my displeasure with something, that simple truth hit me upside the head and has stuck with me ever since.  The way we, as parents, respond to the mounting disappointments in our children’s lives will set the tone for how they respond to it.  

In Hebrews 6, the author uses the example of God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises to Abraham in order to assure his readers that they can be sure of the hope of their eternal life.  He calls this hope “an anchor for our soul, firm and secure.”  I find myself needing an anchor for my soul now more than ever before in my life.  I find that without an anchor holding me in place, my soul drifts almost imperceptibly with every passing announcement about politics or COVID, or just reading through the comment section of a news article or a friend’s Facebook post.  My soul drifts toward discontentment, anger, impatience, bitterness, despair and even depression.  If I am not careful to take note of this drift, I can look up and find myself miles away from my soul’s true home.  

Now imagine that your whole family is in a boat, and you are the captain.  If you let this current cultural storm blow you into anger and despair, your family is swept away with you.  If you allow your soul to drift into the waters of discontentment and bitterness, your family will drift right along with you.  But on the flip side, if you are able to throw down the anchor of hope in Christ, you can stabilize your whole family in the midst of any storm.

I began to think about the conversation I was dreading with my daughter as an opportunity instead – an opportunity to anchor her in our hope in the unchanging promises of God in the midst of ever-changing circumstances.  When I think of the promises of hope that anchor my soul that I want to pass on to her, I think of promises like Romans 8:28: “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  I can tell her that even though we can’t understand what God is doing, we can trust that He is using even this for our good.  

I think of John 16:33 which says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” That means I can look into the eyes of my child and tell her that we were promised trouble – that’s part of living in this world. But we were also promised that Jesus has already overcome all of the bad things so they can’t defeat us.  Our ultimate hope in eternal life, described so beautifully in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 and 1 Peter 1:3-6, leads me to tell her that all of the hard things we have to go through in this life are just light and momentary sufferings when we compare them to the perfection and glory that we will get to enjoy one day because of Christ. 

As we enter into a season filled with more unknowns, I pray that we can look calmly into the face of whatever comes next because we know that our families are firmly anchored on an unshakeable hope in a God who fulfills all of His promises.