Three Essentials For Students Remembering Faith in the Midst of Uncertainty
“He’s got the whole world in his hands.”
Many youth workers have either sung this sentence or had this song sung to them from the time they were wearing diapers. Many students have had this song sung to them by parents, grandparents, and others who deeply care for them from when they were younger. These eight words form the basis of a song that has been around for almost a century reminding those who hear it that God is not surprised by what is happening in the world, but is holding the whole world as someone would carefully and meticulously carry a delicate object.
It is during times of crises, like the world pandemic that we find ourselves in, that we are forced to ask the question “Does God still have the whole world in his hands?” The answer to this question will set the trajectory to how we disciple and lead students during this time.
We can start finding the answer to this question in Psalm 95:4-5 which explains “In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.” God really does have the world in his hands. Beyond this, thousands of years ago in Isaiah 46:9-10 God explained “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’” God not only holds the whole world, but He will accomplish his desires. Beyond this, the Bible is clear that God was, will be, and currently is present and in control.
God was present at the creation of the world as explained in the book of Job when God proclaimed “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” He will be in the future eternity as chapter 21 of Revelation explains — Jesus will be present in the New Jerusalem. And even now in 2020 — in the midst of the devastation the world is in because of the novel Coronavirus, the book of Colossians explains that in Jesus “all things hold together.” God is not distant from our lives, but is present. What a reassurance in this very time.
What does this mean for youth workers during this global COVID19 crisis?
Remind students that God knows what they are going through.
Read sections of the Bible such as Psalm 139 with them. Make sure students realize that God is not surprised by what is happening in the world, but He is also not surprised at what is happening in their lives. God knows the big details including each of the people who are being infected with this virus, but he also knows small details including the words that they speak before they come out of their mouths. (Psalm 139:4) Ask probing questions to students about how they feel about God knowing them? How is this comforting? How can they use these facts to help calm their fears?
Remind students that God cares for them in the middle of fear.
One common Bible verse used in the midst of fear and worry is 1 Peter 5:7 which says “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” No one is arguing whether or not students and adults are full of anxiety right now in the midst of this crisis. However, often more emphasis is put on our anxiety when what is most important is the fact that God actually cares for you. How can the fact that God cares for the students who you serve change the way you pray and care for them in the midst of this pandemic? You can rest in the fact that even though you cannot meet with your students as you always have in the past, they are cared for by the Creator of the universe.
Remind students that God can be trusted.
Sometimes there can be a disconnect between knowing that God is in control and actually putting one’s trust in him. In his book Trusting God Even When Life Hurts, author Jerry Bridges asks “Do you have such a relationship with God and such a confidence in Him that you believe He is with you in your adversity even though you do not see any evidence of His presence and His power?” If students can learn to put their trust in God as teenagers, then the whole path of their lives is changed as they can apply patterns they learn now in the many other uncertain situations that they will find themselves in during the years ahead.
Last year I received a call from my brother days before Christmas telling me that he was excited about the Christmas gift that he had bought for me. However, unfortunately it broke. Eventually I found out that he purchased a globe and dropped it in the parking lot. The globe was ruined along with his great gift idea being shattered on the pavement. After learning what had happened I said “God has the whole world in his hands and you can’t carry a globe?” We can be thankful that even during uncertain and difficult times that we don’t need to worry about God dropping the world out of his hands. Students can find confidence in knowing that God did not only create the world, but he is also sustaining it today. We can all rejoice that “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”
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