When David was a young man, he tended the family’s sheep while his brothers went off to war. One might look at David’s assignment and say, “Well, he certainly got off easy. No battle. No enemy to fight. No risk of death.” But God was preparing David for the trials ahead.

Read 1 Samuel 17:32-37. Sometime later, when the people of God were taunted and challenged by the Philistines, it was David who stepped forward to fight the giant Goliath. And it was his training as a shepherd, specifically his practice with a sling and his time alone with God, that prepared him to stand before the mightiest man of his day.

You know the story. Goliath was defeated. The Philistines were beaten. David was victorious. But the battle was won long before David ever stepped foot on the battlefield. It was won when he learned to trust God back in the fields with the sheep.

God has called us to help prepare the next generation for the challenges and trials they will face by pointing them to God’s promises. One of the simplest ways to do this is to show them how we deal with struggles in our own lives. 

First, we should find opportunities to share the trials we are going through with our children. We live in a world that sugarcoats and filters everything, and if that’s all our children see, they won’t be prepared to face the brokenness of this world. But if we share our challenges with our kids, they will be better prepared to face their own troubles when they come.

Second, we must remember that our trials are an opportunity to bring Scripture to life. During trials, we should read the Bible to our kids and show them God’s faithfulness. Tell them He was faithful then, He is faithful now, and we can trust Him.

Finally, let us use times of trial to help our children focus on eternity. Our ultimate hope lies in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and no matter how tough things become, we have His promise that one day “He will wipe away every tear” (Revelation 21:4).

Are you keeping family struggles from your children to try to protect them? Consider sharing some of the trials you face so they can not only learn to expect difficulties in life—and so develop perseverance—but also learn to trust God in all circumstances—and so deepen their faith.

Prayer: Father, give us the wisdom and discernment to share our family’s struggles with our children. As we model trust in You with real-life challenges, may their faith in You know new depths. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds” (Psalm 71:17).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series Preparing the Next Generation: WATCH NOW | LISTEN NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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