Darlene Osborne, Publisher
Your Place for Christian Articles
by Shelley Pierce email@example.com
She sat down in my office and with tears in her eyes, asked me to tell her what God wanted her to do with her future. She would soon be a senior and was worried because she didn’t have a plan.
“Why doesn’t God make it clear?”
“Why won’t He just tell me what’s next?”
Her parents taught her about God’s love from the very beginning. She had been a leader in the youth group, always stepping up to help where needed. Her faith had been strong, up to this point.
His mother called me with a heavy heart. Her son, once certain of God’s existence and work in his own life, was suddenly questioning everything.
“Maybe God isn’t real after all.”
“What if it’s all just a great story?”
My own daughter, after several years of illness, cried under the cover of night as she lay in a hospital bed.
“Why Momma? Why doesn’t God stop this?”
“Doesn’t He know all I want to do?”
You are an expert at bandaging skinned knees and soothing broken hearts. You know how to call out spelling words till the cows come home.
But a faith crises?
That’s another ballgame.
Our knee-jerk reaction to any struggle we see our child facing is to fly in and rescue. We want to fix it and work it all out for the best. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that your child must work this out for himself.
Personal faith is, well, just that. It’s personal. Our kids grow up learning “Jesus Loves Me” and the Golden Rule. We teach them to say their prayers and be thankful. We are thrilled when our little concrete thinkers mature to the abstract and begin applying Bible truth. We love it when we see our kids make great choices based on what they know God wants. Their faith is on the move as they begin to understand the character of God. But faith doesn’t become personal until they hit a wall and must move from concepts to experience.
I will state the obvious. When your child is in a sea of doubt, the most important and powerful thing you can do is pray for God to reveal Himself. Don’t be afraid to ask God to work it out quickly, but when you end your prayer with “in Jesus’ name” remind yourself you are trusting Him to do what’s best in His own time.
Listen More, Talk Less
Remember the girl that sat across from me, wanting me to tell her God’s plan? She knew as she said it that I did not know what God had in store for her. She didn‘t really expect me to fill in the blanks. When your child expresses the doubts, allow her talk it out. Refrain from saying things such as “You don’t mean that” and “You know better.” It’s okay to admit that you do not have all the answers. Be a safe sounding board for your child.
Suggest a Chat with a Pastor
Communicate with your child that you would be happy for him to sit down with a pastor or other trusted Christian friend. This is a good time to tell him that it is human nature to go through times of doubt and struggle. Your child is not alone as he questions. A trusted mentor can be objective and offer fresh insights.
Encourage a Scripture Search
The best thing to do when searching for truth is to go straight to it. The Holy Spirit will use scripture to bring your child through any crises. There are biblically based books, many can be found on the Focus on the Family website, that address specific life experiences that cause us to doubt God. At the time that young man’s mother called me looking for help, I had such a book on my shelf waiting for her.
Model Faith that Doesn’t Quit
One thing we understand about God is there are many things we do not understand about God. And you know what? That’s okay. You can model faith-living for your child even when you don’t understand or like what’s going on around you. God is faithful when we choose to trust Him. Sometimes we have to take a stand and announce that no matter what happens, we will follow God’s precepts and live for Him. It broke my heart when my daughter asked me “Why?” and I had no answer. Instead of making something up, I told her I didn’t understand but was trusting God to work it all for her good.
It is only through the most difficult circumstances that faith grows deeper. Trust God to bring your child through the valley of doubt.
© Shelley Pierce