Are you stressed? Can God help you? How to explain worry to a Child
“But put God’s kingdom first. Do what he wants you to do. Then all those things will also be given to you.” – Matthew 6:33 NIV
It’s been said that the Bible is shallow enough for a child to wade into it but deep enough for a scholar to drown in. What does that mean? The Bible can be approached in many different ways, and in many different depths. We can get just a taste, or we can also dive right in. It's that powerful.
If that’s true about scripture as a whole, it’s certainly true of Matthew 6:33. This is a verse that packs a powerful punch. But this doesn’t mean that it must be difficult to understand for your child. If you break it down into smaller parts, you’ll find that teaching it is much easier.
To understand this verse, you first need to understand when it’s spoken. Jesus had gone up onto a mountain and from there, he began teaching his disciples the way of God’s Kingdom. You may have heard of the famous ‘Sermon on the Mount’, well, this is it.
Jesus lays out the principles for living God’s way. He discusses everything from hatred to lust to prayer and fasting in these three chapters. And right before he speaks the words recorded in Matthew 6:33, he reminds his followers about the pointlessness of worrying.
Now I know that discussing stress and worry with young children is hard in many ways. You don't want your kids to know you get worried about credit card bills or jobs or rent. You want them to be happy. But, you also want them to understand and not be afraid. Jesus helps us communicate that to children here.
To broach the conversation, you could ask your child if they’ve ever worried about anything. Maybe they’ve been worried about going to a new school or meeting new people. Let them talk about the worries and anxieties they’ve experienced, and if they don’t come up with anything right away, share a time when you experienced worry. You might even want to tell them about a time you were worried about them.
Ask the following guidance questions:
"What was I worried about? Was it being safe? Was it losing something?
Can I do something to stop the problem?
Can God help me?"
At the last question, children may or may not immediately understand, but guide them through it. When we have God, we cannot worry, because he will keep us safe. He knows what matters, and what is closest to our hearts. He will provide as we exalt his Glory.
Blessed be. Amen.