22. Suffering with redemptive intention (with Amy… | God's World News

It's our June giving drive! Help more kids see God at work in the culture.


Kelsey Reed • 06/07/2023
Concurrently Ep 22 Thumb

Kelsey Reed
Hello, welcome to Concurrently: The News Coach Podcast from WORLD Radio and God’s WORLD News. We’re here to come alongside you, learning and laboring with you as you disciple kids and teens through culture and current events. I’m Kelsey Reed. Today, I’m here with another friend from around God’s WORLD News, whom I will introduce in a moment. Our conversation today is going to be just a little bit different. But as always, we invite you to send in questions for us to address in future episodes. Please send them to newscoach@wng.org.

The week of this recording, we’ve been grieving Tim Keller, who strove to make the gospel known in this generation. He had a profound impact on so many, and so his loss is felt deeply. It is not the only story of loss. It’s not the only story of suffering in the news. Stories from around the globe point to the fact that suffering is a very real part of human life in general. But it has a specific place in the Christian walk in particular, and it seemed an appropriate moment to consider this question: How do we talk to our children and students about loss, suffering, and death? This topic has such traction with how we engage the world.

So the friend I’ve invited to join me on Concurrently is one deeply acquainted with grief and loss. Amy Auten has stepped into the role formerly occupied by Vicki Drake, whom you may be familiar with from our episode on how to talk to children about war. Vicki Drake served as editor of God’s Big WORLD. She has retired, and Amy Auten has stepped into her shoes. Amy brings to this role the same rich wisdom, the same joyful perspective, the same sense of play. I am so thankful for her presence in the office. Her perspective is one that blesses me hugely, and it is a perspective that is hard won. So as we approach the question today—how do we talk to our children about suffering and loss? How do we disciple them to live intentionally and discerningly with this aspect of the world?—we want to hear from Amy, the story the Lord is unfolding in her life. Welcome, my friend.

Amy Auten
Thank you so much for having me.

I’m so glad for you to be here. A little bit more on her: Amy has a Masters of Theological Studies in Church History. She has two amazingly musical and creative teenage boys, one of whom graduates from high school this year with my own eldest daughter, so we have another place of overlap. And that is happening in actually just about a week’s time. Oh, my goodness, this is just a crazy moment for us. So we are thankful to share from these perspectives, as we raise these kids and seek to do so with intention and for the Lord’s glory.

So, today’s topic, though grounded in what we are experiencing in the world, it really gives us the opportunity to engage more deeply with a greater theology on suffering. And every good theologian, at least in my book, has written something on the problem of pain: Shattered Dreams, A Grief Observed, trials and sufferings. And with your rich study in church history, I’m sure you have a huge bank of resources at your fingertips. So I just want to start by asking: What authors have really shaped your own theology of suffering?

You know, my default will be scripture.

That’s a good default.

In an extreme loss situation, you go straight for a passage like 1 Corinthians 15, that addresses death explicitly. Because you have to anchor yourself in the truth. Our attention span for the truth is like, seconds. I’ve told the boys, if you’re going to be glutton for anything, be a glutton for truth.

The only book that I could read in the hardest moments—people gave me a ton of books—the only book I could read was A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis, because it was written by someone who had walked it, the deepest, hardest roads. Another huge asset to me, as a Church History major—John Piper did a series of lectures called “Men of Whom the World’s Not Worthy.” And those lectures have been huge in our home, not just for me, but for my sons, to watch how giants of the faith walk through agony. It should stand out to us that our heroes are those who’ve walked through it, who suffered with redemptive intention. That’s a phrase we’re going to keep coming back to. How do you suffer with redemptive intention? You watch people like C.S. Lewis, who lost his mom and his wife. J.R.R. Tolkien lost his father. Eric Liddell lost his freedom. His mission was taken over by the Japanese when he was in China trying to do mission work. So who are our heroes? It can be a relief to have a comrade who’s either living in Heaven or living on Earth.

Those who’ve gone before us. Yes. Fathers in the faith. You’re making me think of other rich nonfiction I’ve had the opportunity to have exposure to in my own life. And I’m starting on that great work by Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, and just thinking about what he says about the cross laid on every Christian, and that the first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. And so you’re talking about our comrades walking that path before us, where our attachments, their attachments to this world, are slowly, like one finger at a time, being pulled away that our hands might be opened.

I know that suffering hasn’t been just this conceptual thing in your life. You have had your fingers pried back. You’ve had to abandon the attachments of this world in a very real way. So we’ve had the benefit of hearing some of your story. And we want you to share the pieces of your personal testimony that help us to understand why this is such an important area to discipleship. So, what would you like to share with us regarding your story today?

So the past decade in particular, ending last year, culminating last year, was very, very challenging. In 2012, I gave birth to a son at 21 weeks, who couldn’t survive the birth. In 2014, my family was on a family vacation at the beach, and my husband of 20 years, who’s one of the best people I’ve ever known, died in front of my sons and me. A few years later, I remarried, and that marriage ended, not in the way we wanted. My ex-husband left our church. He was unwilling to get pastoral intervention, and he filed for divorce without biblical grounds. So you’re so hoping for redemption. The boy’s grandfather on their dad’s side passed away in 2017, and then my dad committed suicide 2018. So lots of loss.

And when you have had each of these things unfold—I’ve heard some of the ways your heart’s cry was just, it’s almost like it was torn from you, just the rawness of what it meant for you to respond to the Spirit’s prying of your fingers off of good things. These are good dreams. There’s a reason why that book entitled Shattered Dreams is such a helpful phrase for us, because these are dreams that were good, and that have been shattered. And that shatters our concept of even who the Lord is. So unpack for me a little about what happened in these moments. How did you—mind, heart, and body—engage in this new season as it unfolded, each of these different pieces? How did you acquaint with it? How did you wrestle with it? What did this look like? And what have you seen as the outcomes of that?

Yes. So suffering generates a lot of crisis questions. One question is: What happens when suffering creates a crisis of identity? A second question is: What happens when suffering creates, from our angle, a crisis of God’s character? God never has an identity crisis, but we have one on His behalf. What happens when we realize we cannot escape suffering? And then, how do we suffer with redemptive intention?

Those are such great questions. Can I even just have you repeat them?

Sure. What happens when suffering creates a crisis of identity? What happens when suffering creates, from our angle, a crisis of God’s character? What happens when we realize we cannot escape suffering? And how do we suffer with redemptive intention?

So the crisis of identity, of course—who am I? All of us have dreams. All of us have dreams that die. So then it becomes, who am I without my dream? Who am I if I’m no longer a wife? If I’m no longer a mother the way I had envisioned? If I now carry the unwanted stigma of divorce? If I’m no longer working in the role I thought I would have? Who am I? What’s my identity? You don’t realize how much you’re tying your identity to these things until they’re stripped. I went from homeschool nuclear family to widow to divorced in a short space of time, and I was floored by it. This was not supposed to be my story. And I’ve said this to you—nothing busts open the prosperity gospel mindset you didn’t realize was there like suffering. Nothing explodes closet prosperity gospel like suffering. You thought if you worked hard, went to church, taught the kids truth, not only will the washing machine never break, but your husband would never die in front of you.

So who are we? I want to pay tribute to Tim Keller. He has a sermon story that he tells, where a woman came to him, and her whole life her identity was wrapped up in “Do I have a man who loves me and values me?” Because that’s where all her value came from. So she went from man to man, often very unhealthy relationships. She finally goes to a secular counselor to try to figure out, how do I get help? And the counselor’s advice was, “You need to establish independence. Build your career.” And she looked at Pastor Tim Keller and said, she’s trading one idol for another. She said, “What if I don’t want any more idols?” And what she was moving towards was that statement in Colossians: Your life is hidden with Christ in God. Christ, who is your life. I don’t know if we really meditate on that enough. And then that verse in Philippians: “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” That’s a whole new framework for what living and dying is.

Now, in the peak of trauma and loss, that’s not the first place you go. You’re on the floor weeping. You’re not eating right. You’re losing weight. And so in the crisis peak moment, I would like to testify to the simpler survival things of just—actually, I call it “incarnational presence.” If I can barely see God, I need love with skin on to come into my space. And so I would like to testify today to the kindness of God’s community, where, if I can barely see Jesus, you can be Jesus for me. And it was done with a tenacious intention. Friends who knew my introverted tendencies to just kind of curl up would say, “I’m coming over right now with food. I’m dropping it off on the front porch. Love you.” I needed that. That’s incarnational presence.

I’m hearing so many things that remind me of touchpoints in scripture, and even what you’ve described—that incarnational presence—the story you told of the woman in the experience of Tim Keller, and just the touchpoints in Jesus’ response to the Samaritan woman. You know, I hear Job, and there was a time when even Job’s comforters were very present and did a phenomenal job of sitting with him for days in his grief. And so I’m hearing not only of Jesus’ tenderness to you, and that it is His way, time out of mind, to engage with that tenderness. I’m also hearing how scripture shaped you, how there’s a scriptural precedent. So we see the same pattern, that our need is a heart need, a spiritual need, for sure. But it’s also an incarnational need. It is love, as you put it, with flesh on. And so I hear how this desperation the Lord was allowing to work in you also did some amazing things within the church. So I’m just making note of that, while you share that discipleship response to suffering. It may be your own suffering, but it may be the suffering of others. And you’re giving me some color as to what that could look like. So what a phenomenal thing to push into my own discipleship today.

You talked about some of these different crises, and there is a crisis of identity, a crisis of, you know, our posture towards the Lord’s character. His character never changes, but we have a crisis towards it. Unpack some more of these crises for me. Or where would you like to take us next for this story?

The crisis of theology, the crisis of God’s character. Who is God if He permits these levels of agony to us and to Himself? When I held my son who didn’t survive his birth, I knew I cannot believe in a God who had not walked through the same valley. But why? What is the purpose? And again, you have to get back to scripture. Hebrews 12: “We have a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, so let us lay aside every encumbrance. Let us run with endurance the race.” Okay, if you stop there, you’re in big trouble. Because it’s a very exhortative “go run the race.” That’s not where it finishes. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.” He is the origin and the finisher of our stories, who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross. So why does He arrange to have Himself killed and raised for us? For the joy set before Him. He did it for us. We’re His joy. That’s how deep His love goes.

So in that sense, it’s a call as image-bearer. What is the joy set before me, as I’m walking through these deep valleys? The joy set before me is communion with Christ, communion with other people. I cannot stress enough that when you’re in the peak of the trauma, you’re not thinking these elevated, beautiful thoughts. You, again, are weeping and struggling. I just want to give grace for that. This awareness of your ultimate calling comes incrementally.

My husband of 20 years who died, his name was Matt Auten. He wrote a song called “The Endlessness Is Kind.” And he maneuvered “Jesus Loves Me” into the song. That’s the final punchline. Because the song is asking the classic crisis questions. Is the endlessness kind? That’s our greatest fear. Is the cosmic void silent or unkind? And his answer was, “Jesus loves me.” And it’s a confessional statement. “Jesus loves me, this I know / for the Bible tells me so.” And then “Little ones to Him belong / they are weak, but He is strong / Yes, Jesus loves me.” That’s like a credal confession. And so, in essence, we really must become like children to enter the kingdom.

Matt was always processing like David in the Psalms, through music. Music is very important in our house. Before he died, he wrote a song called “I’ll See You in the Morning.” And it has a line—it’s God talking to him—it says, “When you long for me to hold you / when I’ve dark-night-of-the-souled you / I’ll see you in the morning, my love.” When we don’t have clarity right now, in our finite space and time and our inability to see God’s beautiful, huge redemptive story, He’s promising: “Look. Trust me. Trust my character. I’ll see you in the morning when all things are made new. I’ll see you in the morning.”

I love how you point to beauty and recognize that, in the beauty we get to experience on this Earth, we’re catching those glimmers of ultimate beauty. That opportunity that the Lord takes to acquaint us more deeply with His loveliness, through things like music that ministers to us—in the midst of this heart-rending process of having our idols unseated, it’s been so appropriate for us to be thinking through the lens of the loss of Keller, and what he has said about who we are and what we’re wrestling with. So this crisis of identity, where we have sought to, you know, find ourselves in our dreams, in our roles—we see that, as we’ve said, in the story of the Samaritan woman, where she was finding herself in her relationship, in her position towards the men in her life, and that the Lord’s addressing of her heart is the same addressing of our hearts, that Keller communicates well, through his theology of idolatry. Our theology of suffering really meets well in those places, I think. We see how suffering, that prying off of our fingers of the things we’ve held on to, addresses not just what’s in our hands, but what’s in our hearts, and unseats those idols of my comfort, my approval by other people, my control over a situation or even some kind of power that I had authority to speak into my life and manifest, as we are saying in this generation, the things that I am claiming for myself—that we have all of those things stripped away. I’m thinking of Hosea right now, and that story of the Lord’s pursuit of this woman who is pursuing everything else, this woman being us. So these crises, we’re starting to see how they’re for our good, because these other things are just mere shadows of the true beauty, this beauty that we’re glimpsing in music, in art, in relationship. These are mere shadows, mere echoes of ultimate beauty. Our theology of suffering requires a richness to it. So unpack for us some more—what is our next crisis to look at?

The next step is, of course, the crisis of response—how we respond to the agony and the losses. I’ve mentioned already that there has to be space for raw need, the Elijah moments of despair, where God makes him bread; tells him to go sleep. That’s in 1 Kings 19. There has to be the space where you say to let the shattered one sleep. Be still with words. Job’s friends were doing very well when they were quiet. As they started speaking, they started tumbling. So there needs to be grace for the irritability and the ugliness of grief. It was in me. It was in my sons. I want to be really intentional about talking about, how do we talk to children about suffering? My children were walking through deep loss, but like all of us, they couldn’t always articulate it. And so one day, my oldest was walking around really irritable, and the Holy Spirit showed me He was walking around with his daddy’s shirt in his hands. And I said, “Love, are you sad?” And that’s all. That’s all he needed for the dam to break. Underneath anger is pain. And underneath irritability is pain. So pray that we would have the equipping to dig deeper than the surface. It’s so easy to exhort, like, “Stop being so irritable, stop being so rude. Why are you talking that way?” May the Holy Spirit equip us to see deeper.

The wisdom there, of not only internal discipleship response—you know, how am I dealing with grief? How am I processing through this?—but the external, increasing wisdom and discernment for coaching your children towards a redemptive intentionality in the suffering, having your questions attuned to them. I hear, even in just the rawness of your tone, that you have known failure in that area. We are learning what it looks like to be there, “love with flesh on” for our children, asking those questions, seeing beyond the anger and moving into relationship. And it’s such a tender thing to hear you processing that with a sense of that having been a growth process. And I’m refreshed by it. You didn’t have it right right away. But you continue to take the risk and move in for the joy that was set before you.

In terms of failures, I can be very—it’s easy to distract yourself with agendas, because that’s where you can feel control. So if the universe has exploded, I’m very gifted at getting sidetracked with the mundane. Let’s clean up the laundry. Let’s clean up the LEGOs. Let’s make sure we checked off all the lists for the homeschool schedule today. I hear that. But if agendas come before people, we’ve missed our calling. If we’re irritable and in pain, we have to turn our faces towards each other and to Jesus and say “pause.” What’s going to be helpful right now in terms of resetting our sights towards truth? So that actually happened last week. We were all grumpy. And I said, “We’re all going outside.” God is so gracious to proclaim His truth and character in His creation. So that’s a default for us. If we’re feeling lousy, I’m like, we’re going to go look at birds. We’re going to go look at stars. And God’s really generous with us. He never disappoints. When we get out there, we come back refreshed.

That just sits me right into the Psalms. So many of the Psalms, that is the heart cry of the psalmist. And his response, you know, “I look into the heavens, what is man that you are mindful of him?” So much provision for those spaces, and reminding us the Lord calls us out into His creation to be refreshed and to have our perspective just blown wide open. I really am thankful for that. I need that refreshment, to go and find Him in His beauty, in that which reveals something of Himself to us. Yes. Something of our smallness.

The reason it has redemptive effect is because it’s proclaiming His character. I tried to layer everything I knew would point me to truth and help me, and you have to be holistic with it. You have to ask, have I slept enough? Have I eaten enough? The Lord would just compel me: Go outside under the stars, play a Tim Keller sermon out of your phone and walk. So I’m hitting—I just had supper, I just ate, I’m exercising, I’m walking under the stars, I’m looking at the stars, and I’m listening to Tim Keller. Like you try to just slam it, every dimension, quadruple the truth. Because I’m so broken that I need it from every single direction possible.

We talk about—in Ed theory—head, heart, hands. You’re talking about that fully dimensioned, screaming-at-you-from-every-angle, or maybe not screaming—some of that just sounds so much more tender—but sometimes shouting.

I’m shouting while I’m walking, haha.

I can imagine.

I would be like, crying out, praying, angry. You’re just desperately grasping. And He’s the one who’s propelling me out the door. Right? I know He’s the one who takes you by the hand.

You have this Psalm here for us. I wonder if it’s a good moment—you talk about your shouting and you talk about what you’re needing.

Yes. It’s Psalm 73:21-26. We do cry out, and He can handle it. David does it in the Psalms. He’s raw. He’s like,
“What are you doing? Where are you?” That Psalm says, “When my heart was embittered”—and that’s a good word—“When my heart was embittered, and I was pierced within, then I was senseless and ignorant. I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless, I am continually with you. You have taken hold of my right hand with your counsel. You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Who have I in heaven but you? And besides you, I desire nothing on Earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

So we’re in that place of response. We’re talking about the crisis of response. In fact, our response is changing, our intimacy with the Lord is changing in response to the suffering, our intimacy with His word is changing, our intimacy with His creation. It has changed through this crisis. Let’s dive a little bit more into response, because we’re at that portion of our episode where we usually like to push into that more in terms of what a mature Christian response, or the response of those who are seeking to disciple others, what can that look like? And we’ve touched on that a lot, but there’s always some more to say here.

So you’ve touched on this before. We live in the creation, fall, redemption, consummation paradigm. So the question is, how am I going to walk in it? We’re called as image-bearers to suffer with purpose. We’re called to move towards love and relationship, because we’re made in His image, and he’s a Trinitarian God. From all eternity, He’s always lived in communion. We’re made for communion. Everyone we cling to and everything we love is in the process of dying. We don’t like to talk about that. But we walk around every day in the dying days. So how are we to live in them?

I have heroes who are alive in Heaven and heroes who are alive on Earth. Something happened last week that blew me away. I have a friend named Noel. She and her husband and their family love children. And it’s a ministry God has given them. They did foster care training, did foster care for a newborn infant straight out of the hospital. And they have walked through years of battles with the system that makes it so difficult for these children to be placed and be settled in a safe place. So she’s years into that journey, and it’s been excruciating. Last week, she gets a telephone call: Hey, we have a newborn infant. Do you want her? She has hours to decide. She said yes. She is functioning with redemptive intention. She knows she’s going to suffer. But she’s suffering with redemptive intention by saying “yes.” I love watching her. And I want to be like her.

The other person, I think, we mentioned Eric Liddell, who’s famous for, of course, Chariots of Fire and the gold medal he won. But after that, he’s a missionary to China, and his mission is taken over by the Japanese, and they’re ill-treated. They don’t have sufficient food. And he looked around, and every day, he made a decision to serve the people around him. He would start games for the children. He would refuse to be a part of the cliques that were forming. He would intentionally reach out to every single person. And the last thing he said before he died was, “It’s complete surrender.” And if the Holy Spirit can help you move towards that place of complete surrender, then you’re liberated to love with radical redemptive intention, knowing everything that you could lose—but from a from a gospel standpoint, you’ve got nothing to lose.

It puts that idea of rejoicing in our sufferings into a unique place. I think of planning play for children in this camp—so much pain, so much loss, and he is organizing play. What a delightful image. This is not quite as profound, maybe, but it is helpful to me sometimes to think of something Martin Luther said. Someone asked him, if he knew that Jesus was coming back tomorrow, what would he do today? And he’s been quoted—I don’t know, I haven’t found the quote, I haven’t looked for the quote, I haven’t done my due diligence—but he is quoted as having said that he would plant a tree. Yes. That in the face of all things being about to be completely different, he is still doing that work of faithful investment in the right now, and with a sense of the fact that that’s not even true risk. This friend of yours, who is taking on what is a temporal risk and what is, in an earthly sense, it’s suffering, but she’s able to see beyond and take that on with a sense of the investment, that this is, in an eternal manner, such a beautiful picture of what it means to be living with an eternal trajectory. Our arc is much longer than the here and now. And if we can live with that sense, then we can suffer intentionally. I love that you’ve been talking about “redemptive intentionality” in suffering. And a phrase I’ve heard you use is “suffering intentionally,” “engaging intentionally.” What beauty.

If you ask my sons—my sons were eight and nine when they lost their daddy—if you ask them what has most helped them over the years—and we did everything. We did therapy. We did horse therapy. We did EMDR, which is the recommended therapy for trauma. If you sit them down and say “What has most helped you?”, they would say “incarnational presence,” the community of their friendships in the church, hands down. As we said, being outside and being able to process as a family, having the time and space to do it. We would sit in bed together and look at each other and say, “How are you doing today? How’s your heart?” Praying together. Incarnational presence was the most important factor in them thriving. I should say that with caution, because the church was praying. I cannot stress the prayer enough. Tim Keller said he and Kathy, his wife, would never go back to the kind of prayer they had before his cancer diagnosis. Because the reality of the fact that his days were numbered completely transformed the way they prayed.

You make me think of the manifold ways our discipleship unfolds. What I mean is, we’re each in very different seasons. One of us might be experiencing suffering. Our children, you know, they may be experiencing suffering. But somewhere in the body is someone who is not currently in a season of suffering. They’re in a season, perhaps, where they need to be reminded of what it means, for their discipleship response to suffering is a response to the suffering of another. Sometimes the dimension is, how do I as an individual respond to the loss I’m experiencing? How do I respond to the loss that my children are experiencing? But there are so many different elements of this picture, the Church learning to be the Church with one another. And so sometimes the thing that is going to be most eloquent is that presence. But sometimes, those of us who are seeking to be present, what we’re needing is to be girded up by truth and reminders of what it means to be Christlike in that moment. And so as we think about these different discipleship layers, different seasons, it is so important, listener, that we are shaped by truth, that we are shaped by scripture. While we think of this, some of the scriptures that came to mind in the season that I’m in—because I realize that my season is different—in my season, I think of Mark 8, starting in verse 34: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” That’s interesting to me to think about. “Who will lose his life for the sake of the gospel.” That might be that tiny death, that little living sacrifice death, that I might bring the gospel by my incarnational presence with someone else.

I want to piggyback on that verse. When it says “lose your life,” one thing that can happen to a person who feels like they have lost everything they wanted, is you turn very inward. You can get very victim-minded. You can become everything you don’t want to be, because the surest way to misery is to be self-focused. And so lose yourself. Lose your life for the call of Christ. I would sometimes be up late at night, distracting myself through the darkest days, and I’d be on Facebook and the Holy Spirit would say, “Go through your friend list and just start praying for every face.” That was so the Lord, because it got me out of my own grief. I’m going to say one of the greatest tools of Facebook is that friend page. If you’re feeling really turned inward with your own sorrows, the Holy Spirit, He can draw you to it. And just start praying.

What you’re saying reminds me of that steadfastness that’s produced in us. You know, we’ve been encouraged, told to pray without ceasing. That reflects to me the faithfulness of the Father, that He’s seeking to work in us, working faithfulness, steadfastness into us. So, from James 1:2: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” It goes on to talk about asking for wisdom. “Man, what wisdom is bought through this?” So I encourage you to read that in its context with your kids, with your teens, with your students.

One more from 1 Peter 1, starting in verse six: “In this you rejoice”—I think of Eric Liddell—“though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” Another that needs to be truly engaged in deeper context to understand, and even through the story of Peter. What was it that acquainted him with this deep joy? Part of that was the loss of a best friend.

As we wrap this up today—parent, teacher, mentor of kids and teens, we urge you to embrace the curriculum that the Lord has ordained for your life, for your children’s lives, to move into relationship, knowing that there is abundant grace for this process, so much provision as He becomes more and more in your sights, in your heart. He has equipped you for this work.

Show Notes

The news is filled with stories of suffering. Suffering plays an important role in the Christian life. What do we do when the worst comes true? God’s Big WORLD editor Amy Auten shares her story on today’s episode.

Check out The Concurrently Companion for this week's downloadable episode guide including discussion questions and scripture for further study

We would love to hear from you. You can send us a message at newscoach@wng.org. What current events or cultural issues are you wrestling through with your kids and teens? Let us know. We want to work through it with you.

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Denver, CO | 6/14 - 6/17 | Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference
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Concurrently is produced by God’s WORLD News. We provide current events materials for kids and teens that show how God is working in the world. To learn more about God’s WORLD News and browse sample magazines, visit gwnews.com.

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PLAY-BY-PLAY | MAY 31, 2024

Pandas return, bullfights get banned, and Google makes an AI blunder.

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How do we cultivate a right understanding of disability? We’re joined by author Stephanie Hubach to explore culture’s shifting attitudes on this topic and discover a biblical alternative.

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It’s a presidential election year in the United States. What discipleship pitfalls might election season bring–and what opportunities does it present? We’re joined by author Kaitlyn Schiess to explore whole-person politics.