Ultimately, a parent can’t theologize away the pain and hurt a kid is feeling when dealing with a difficult situation or tragedy. That said, difficult moments and tragedies present great opportunities to point our kids to the cross. As parents in pursuit of the cross, we ought to prayerfully and discerningly wash our children in the word during difficult times.
Go slow and go gently, there is truth and theology at play here, that even the most mature adult can’t get their minds around. Below is my best stab at helping a parent help their 4-6 grader through the death of a pet:
This is very very sad —- I’m sorry it happened
We need to remember in hard times like these that God is good and that everything God made is good. God is the bringer of life (Genesis 1). This is really hard to do when your feelings are hurt and your sad.
But God is good. God made the animals (Genesis 1) and God loves animals (Proverbs 12:10).
The really sad thing about the world is that a lot of stuff isn’t how it’s supposed to be —- The world has sin in it (Genesis 3… Cain and Abel, Babel, Jonah, Paul when he was Saul, Peter denying Christ).
The world is like a broken glass plate when it hits the floor, all the pieces are still there on the floor, but it can’t be used the way it was designed. Because of sin, a lot of bad things happen.
Hurricanes, starvation, sickness, earthquakes, diseases, divorces, death, and other bad things are all because of sin. These things are apart of this broken world we live in.
One of the scariest and saddest things about sin is that it leads to death (Romans 6:23).
God wanted peace, love, and joy, but sin leads to anger, hate, and death (Galatians 5). God didn’t want these things. God hates sin and death. God brings life (John 3:16, Romans 6:23).
It’s hard to think about right now, but the best news ever is that God isn’t going to let the world be like this forever. God knows all about death and how horrible it is, because he sent his son to die, and Jesus did. But then something amazing happened…. Jesus came back to life. Jesus defeated death. He beat death. God’s plan is for life.
The best thing we can do whenever we have to deal with death… it doesn’t matter if it is on TV, a friend’s great grandma, or a pet, we should try to remind ourselves that death isn’t right, God is good, and Jesus brings new life. This is one of the main reasons why it’s so important to put our faith in Jesus and not the world.
It’s okay to be sad right now because what happened is really sad, painful, and hard… But also try to remember that God loves you, will care for you, and promises life for those who trust in Jesus.