Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
Adults are not the only ones who feel stress and anxiety. Childhood anxiety was at an all-time high, and that was before the Coronavirus hit us hard. Worse, children do not have the life experience, emotional maturity, or ability to even address their struggle. Yet, children are keenly empathic. Perhaps because children are unable to verbally communicate as well as adults, they are even more attune to the emotional cues of the adults in their lives. In other words, they focus not only on their own stress and anxiety, but they also take on our stress and anxiety, and that of others. In dangerous times like this, children are especially vulnerable.
“Childhood in an Anxious Age,” is an interesting article in “The Atlantic” magazine. Kate Julian’s article addresses the issue head on. She states, “Many cases of childhood anxiety go away on their own-and if you don’t have an anxiety disorder in childhood, you’re unlikely to develop one as an adult. Less happily, the cases that don’t resolve tend to get more severe and to lead to further problems-first additional anxiety disorders, then mood and substance-abuse disorders.” Julian’s statements clearly show that we ignore childhood anxiety at our own risk, and theirs.
A devotion is not the place to try providing complex answers to horrific issues. It is our task to lift them up and ask God to bring enlightenment and healing. At this unprecedented time, our thoughts and prayers should be focused on those who cannot care for themselves: our children. Today, focus empathy on the children in your life. Picture their mood and life experience, then consider their fears and struggles. Finally, place yourself in our situation of social distancing and fear of the unknown. Pray for the wisdom to reach our children and provide the comfort and strength they need to face our present situation. Give them the spiritual tools to bring their issues before the Lord. Then, emotional safety and healing will be theirs.