In times of crisis, the church steps in. Ministry leaders are often the first ones to stand in the gap to help meet the needs of their communities after a natural disaster, health crisis, or tragedy. These leaders become the hands and feet of Jesus as they minister to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of hurting and fearful neighbors, friends, and strangers. And it is these leaders that the David Caleb Cook Foundation is working to equip.
DCCF’s crisis response program provides practical guidance to help these ministry leaders as they encourage their communities to lean on the Lord in times of fear and grief. This resource can be used by ministry leaders, aid workers, and parents to help children to heal after experiencing a crisis. Ministry leaders all over the world have used DCCF’s crisis response resources to help children cope with hurricanes, earthquakes, the ebola outbreak, the challenges of living as a refugee, and even the COVID-19 pandemic. DCCF’s Latin America staff is currently collaborating with ministry leaders in Central America to provide this resource to help children and families that have been impacted by Hurricane Eta.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, these crisis response resources are provided free to any ministry leader who requests them for use in a country or region where a crisis has impacted children and families. Below is a portion of “Hard Questions and God’s Responses,” one of the helpful resource articles that is part of most versions of the crisis response program. This article helps adults to answer the difficult questions children ask about God and the crisis they’ve experienced.
Hard Questions and God’s Responses
If God loves us, how could He allow this to happen?
Bad things like suffering, disease, and death happen in our world. God created the world to be perfect. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, that allowed evil and sin into the world. The world experiences the results of sin and some of that can be seen in disasters and diseases. God is so great and good, however, that He can bring good even out of terrible things. The following verses show us who God is, and how He loves us.
For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—
how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:32, 38–39
Why did this happen? How do I pray in this time?
“Why?” questions are very difficult to answer. Because we are mortal beings and God is infinite, we are not fully capable of understanding the “big picture.” Some people say it is like looking at the back of a piece of embroidered cloth or tapestry. The pattern and beauty of the front is not visible on the back. The back looks more like a mess of knots and threads than a picture. While God sees the completed beautiful picture, all we can see is the knotted, messy parts. It is a matter of perspective. While we do not understand, we can still trust and praise God because He is good, loving, merciful, and at work.
Although some believers think that God doesn’t welcome such questions, there are many psalms that include difficult questions. When praying seems difficult or impossible, read or recite the psalms as prayers. There are many emotions expressed in the psalms, from the most joyful elation to the darkest pit of depression and fear. Here are some verses you can begin to pray:
Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand.
The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.
You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.
Psalm 10:1, 14, 17
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.
In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them.
They cried to you they and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.