It can be overwhelming to journey with a child questioning their faith. Here are some tips to help you guide your child during this time.
“But Mom, how do I know I’ll want to be with God when I die? I don’t want to grow up. I think I want to live forever on earth like this.” My son’s small voice quivered as he stared blankly ahead, tears forming in his eyes. Our nighttime bible story, which began as a trickle of questions and doubt, is turning into a deluge of fear and uncertainty about God. No amount of reassurance about restoration from a broken world seems to assuage his fears. As I wrap him up in my arms, I think about what a privilege it is to walk with my son in his faith journey and to provide guidance and support.
I think about the story of Peter walking on the water with Jesus in Matthew 14:22-33. In this story, Peter sees Jesus walking on the water and asks to join him. Jesus tells him to come, and Peter gets out of the boat and begins to walk on the water toward Jesus. However, when he sees the wind and the waves, he becomes afraid and begins to sink. Jesus reaches out his hand and saves him, saying, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
From this story, we can learn
Three ways to help a child who is struggling with questioning their faith:
- Encourage them to step out of their comfort zone: Just like Peter, our children may be hesitant to take steps out of their comfort zone when it comes to questioning their faith. Rather than expecting blind obedience, it’s important to encourage them to take risks and ask hard questions. Just like the Bereans in Acts 17:11, who searched the scriptures daily to find out if the things Paul was saying were true, it’s important to encourage children to ask questions about their faith and to seek answers.
- Remind them of God’s faithfulness: Peter’s doubts and fears caused him to sink, but Jesus was there to save him. It’s important to remind children that despite their doubts and questions, God is always faithful and He will not abandon them. As the Bible reminds us in Romans 8:38-39 that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Model faith in action: Peter was able to walk on the water because he believed in Jesus and had faith in him. As parents, we can model faith in action by living out our beliefs and showing our children how to put their faith into practice. We won’t be perfect, and we’ll lose our footing sometimes. But when we have our own sinking moments, running to Christ will help our children to see the relevance of faith in their own lives. The Bible tells us in Psalm 71:20 that “You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth.”
I know how overwhelming it feels to journey with a child questioning their faith. Maybe you have even found yourself in a similar place when doubts overshadow your spiritual condition. In my son’s raw moment of brokenness, his questions reveal a beautiful heart that seeks comfort in the midst of doubt. When our children experience weakness in their faith, I pray they will ask hard questions, feel God’s faithfulness and nearness, and see the actions of others pointing them back toward Christ. In our vulnerability and need of a savior, I am thankful God reaches down, walks with us in our storms, and draws us back to himself.
May you feel the closeness of God today.