Why is the sky blue? Why do I have to wear a shirt? Why can’t we have cookies for dinner?
As parents we get used to fielding lots and lots of questions.
But sometimes there are questions that are hard to answer. Questions that make us uncomfortable.
Why is there evil in the world? Why can’t I see God? Why do people die?
As Christians we have answers to these questions, but they are simultaneously simple and incredibly difficult to comprehend.
At some point in almost everyone’s faith journey the questions will become very serious, and doubt may become a real aspect of the struggle to understand. Sometimes when this happens, parents panic and don’t know how to respond.
How can you respond to doubt in your child?
Acknowledge That it is Normal to Have Questions
I don’t want my children to have faith because I tell them to. I want them to live a life in relationship with the God of Creation. Relationships take time.
When children are small, they take whatever we say at face value. But as they get older they need to come to a personal understanding and experience of God.
When the father of the child possessed with demons brought his son to Jesus for healing, he obviously believed that Jesus had great power, or he wouldn’t have come. Yet even he had doubts, telling Jesus “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
The Bible is filled with stories of men and women with doubts – many of whom God used in mighty ways for His kingdom! It is normal to have questions and doubts when you are growing in faith.
Do you remember what it felt like to struggle? To be unsure of your place in the world and not certain of what you believed?
Those are hard seasons of life, so it is no surprise that God’s Word tells us to have compassion on those who doubt.
”And have mercy on those who doubt” Jude 1:22
It is usually fear that drives parents to quench their children’s questions. But not allowing the freedom for hard questions from your children waters the seeds of rebellion.
If you get frustrated, or even angry, with your child’s questions, they may choose to stop communicating. That is the last thing you want! Be compassionate and patient. Walk through the doubt with them.
Find Answers in God’s Word
There are answers, and the best place to find them is in God’s own Word.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17
Point your child toward Scriptures that address their specific concerns. Spend time studying the Bible yourself so you are more confident in what God says.
If you are unsure where to find answers, ask your pastor, or look up topics in an online resource such as OpenBible.info’s topical Scripture database. The Do Not Depart team is always happy to help point you toward Scriptures that address specific topics – you can ask in a blog post comment, or connect with us on Facebook.
Pray for your child. Pray with your child.
God loves your child more than you ever can. He wants to be known.
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3
One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is living out our relationship with God in our daily lives. When your child sees you taking all your concerns to Him in prayer, it will make an impact.
God is Big Enough!
God is big enough to handle your child’s doubts. God is big enough to handle your worry!
He will give you the strength and wisdom to walk through hard seasons with your children, even seasons of doubt.