It wasn’t the best night to have a serious talk. We had visitors. The house was noisy. My oldest son, Wyatt, started to talk about something that made me turn all of my attention to him.
It was one of those moments in parenting where you know it’s an opportunity for more than a lesson. It’s a moment where you have a chance to direct their path and if you don’t take it, you will miss out on a pivotal moment in their life.
“Mama,” Wyatt said, “I’ve been having doubts about God. I read comic books about super heroes and they seem really cool on paper. People rush to the movie theaters to watch them and wish they were real. But they’re not. What if God is just like a superhero? What if He seems to have great powers but we believe in something that doesn’t exist?”
I knew this day would come. Each time I thought about the day one of my kids would tell me they were questioning their faith, I wondered how I’d react. Would I get angry and yell, “God is real and if you don’t believe in Him do you know where you’ll go? You don’t want to go there, do you!?!”
Would I get nervous and lay hands on him and start casting out demons? Too dramatic?
Or, would I get depressed and worry that he’ll never figure it out?
What do we do when our kids doubt God’s existence?
That can be scary for a parent. We have to be careful with this topic because there are going to be people who have their own philosophy. Some think we shouldn’t force our beliefs onto our kids. “Let them choose for themselves,” they say.
And you know what? We cannot force our beliefs onto anyone … our kids included. All we can do is raise them to know God and pray they will have their own relationship with Him one day. But don’t think for one minute your kids are not going to wrestle with their belief in God.
So, the question remains … what do we do when our kids doubt God’s existence?
Who Do People Say I Am?
As a parent, we need to know what our kids face when they walk out the door each day. We live in a culture where our kids are taught that evolution is no longer a theory, but the beginning to our existence. Our culture is becoming hostile towards Christianity. It’s easy to turn on the news, watch a TV show or go out in public and hear popular opinion about God and His word.
Our kids face ideologies that go against Biblical truth every single day. Their minds are bombarded with opinions about who God is and what they should believe.
Jesus asked His disciples a question in Matthew 16:13. “Who do people say that I am?”
Jesus knew there were opinions about who He was and where He came from going around in society. The disciples also knew what was being said of Jesus. Did other people’s opinions of Him effect theirs?
I am well aware that when I send my boys out into the world the opinions and teachings of others may effect their beliefs. They are at risk of having their minds molded by the popular opinions of our society.
In the end, it won’t matter what Wyatt’s science teacher thinks about God. It won’t even matter what I believe about God. It’s going to come down to a single question and Wyatt will have to answer it. In reality, we all have to answer for ourselves.
Who Do You Say That I Am?
“Who do men say that I am” is an easy question to answer. It’s the question that follows this one that requires honest reflection and reveals our faith.
Jesus followed with the most important question we will ever answer, and one our kids will have to answer as well. He asked, “But what about you? Who do you say that I am?” (Matt 16:15).
You see, I believe this is the question Wyatt is wrestling with. This is the question we ALL have to answer at some point. Because no matter what others say of Jesus, we all have to decide what we believe about Him.
This is not a bad place to be in. I was here at the age of seventeen. Wyatt is here now. And as much as I wish I could pass my faith onto Wyatt, I can only teach him what is right. He has to make the decision to believe in God for himself.
Raise Them Up!
So, do we freak out when they wrestle with their faith? No. We remember our responsibility as their parents and we have confidence in their training. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Are you training them up? Because if you’re not someone else is. An unknown author said, “If we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to.”
There’s a philosophy going around where parents say they don’t want to “force” their kids to go to church. They don’t want to force them to believe in God because they don’t believe it’s healthy.
Trust me when I tell you they are wrong. Your kids will still end up having to face their own beliefs. The problem with not raising them up in church is that the world is forcing the ideologies of our society onto our kids. Whether we think so or not.
If we do not teach them about the Lord, we really aren’t giving them a chance to develop their own faith. Because when the time comes to answer the question, they will not be able to.
Be Their Example
The best way to teach our kids is by example. Who do you say the Son of Man is? Is He your God? Do you listen to what our society says about Him? Because your answer to that question is visible to your children.
Paul said in 1 Cor 8:9 that we should not become a stumbling block to the weak. Our kids have enough blocks to trip over out there in the world we live in. They don’t need us to become one too.
Don’t Freak Out
So, now that we’re here with Wyatt, I realize is he is just wresting with a question. He is in a good place and I am confident in his training.
I thank God that He is dealing with my son about his faith. That’s what God does for our kids because He is faithful.
So, from one parent to another, I encourage you to teach your children about God. But let me remind you that a student is not greater than His teacher (John 15:20). That means we can only take our kids as far as our faith goes.
They will not learn to be passionate about their faith if we are not passionate too. They will not learn to love His Word if we do not love it too. They will not learn how to answer the question about who God is if we do not know the answer ourselves.
The challenge I leave with you today is to look around at what our culture has to say about God. Is the outside world teaching your children and impacting their beliefs more than you? Train them up because what you teach them will stick with them for the rest of their lives.
And so, my friend, when your child comes to you and says their faith is shaken, don’t worry. Continue to guide them down the path gently, pray form them constantly, and thank God that He is doing a work in their young lives. And I promise you, they will know how to answer the question when God comes knocking on the door of their hearts.
Hey friend! June is coming and I have some crazy and exciting things to announce. So, stay tuned and I encourage you to follow me on Instagram and Facebook so you can be a part of what I have planned for you. Look me up under @shandafulbright (insert excited emoji here!!!)