The Gospel Coalition Says Suffering Adults Need ‘Ministry of Children’s Books’ To Cope

The Gospel Coalition has a creative new solution for how Christian adults should process suffering and pain in light of their faith: read more children’s books, as they offer immense therapeutic and spiritual value.

In the article titled Why Suffering Adults Need Children’s Books, author Quina Aragon describes how she turns to children’s books and picture books in her darkest moments, explaining that “it’s suffering adults who especially need the ministry of children’s books.”

She explains that “When trauma occurs or when we’re acutely stressed, we curl up in a fetal position,” and that in order to climb out of that state of fetal vulnerability, we don’t need “pious stoicism” like being told that God is sovereign, or other theological tomes. Rather, “in our pain, we need a break from the philosophizing of Job’s friends. Instead, we need literature that will fertilize what tends to erode over time—our childlike imaginations.”

Whether in picture books or novels, children’s literature reminds us of spiritual realities we’ve studied and debated but not paused to enjoy. Their simplified poetry or prose help our emotionally fatigued hearts to slow down and revel in God’s willingness to condescend to our ash heap of dashed dreams with fresh ones.

She argues that books about simple things like bugs and flowers “fertilizes our imagination” and makes us marvel at God’s creation, while also helping us acknowledge that we’re all afraid of the proverbial dark. Children’s books help us see the monsters for what they are and appeal to the child in us, a simple remedy given because Christ already views us as “little children.”

When we fear the night-cloaked unknown, or when we’re in the dark night of the soul, we need children’s literature to teach us emotional honesty again, to suggest we’re not alone in our struggles, and to remind us of promises we know from God’s Word—“a lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path” (Ps. 119:105).

She concludes that if you want to alleviate your suffering and heal, the ministry of children’s books is a must.

Though she doesn’t name which books are the best, we imagine best-sellers like Peppa Pig, Green Eggs and Ham, Winnie the Pooh, Barbie’s Big Day, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Corduroy, Barney’s Magical Picnic, Are You my Mother? Hop on Pop, The Giving Tree, Where’s Waldo, Goodnight Moon, and whatever else the kids are reading nowadays, would be way up there as the primary tools to help us cope with our suffering and crippling loss.

[Editor’s note: Or you could forget all that blather and read the Psalms themselves.]

1 thought on “The Gospel Coalition Says Suffering Adults Need ‘Ministry of Children’s Books’ To Cope

  1. Psalms. Yes!! King David didn’t deal out pat answers. A person can experience suffering and still trust God.

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