Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Is it OK for our children to wrestle with their belief in God?

Have you ever considered that one day your son or daughter would tell you that they don't know whether they believe in God or not? To most Christians it would alarm and greatly dismay them as parents. My question though is it really such a bad thing? This past weekend we had a great dinner conversation about God. I asked our boys (8, 11 & 12 year in age) do they really believe in God? My 8 year old quickly replied with and exuberant "Yes!" Our 11 year old said with a little less enthusiasm "Sure" and our 12 year old said "I don't know, could there be other things out there?"

At first I wanted to be afraid at his response but then I heard the Lord say "I'm not". See Shaggy our oldest is going to turn 13 this year. It is the age many call the "Age of Accountability". Basically it is when the Lord holds you accountable for your actions because you no longer are considered a child. We have been preparing him this past year with this big transition.

A couple years ago my husband and I taught a class for parents on how to teach your children to hear the voice of God. One of our challenges to parents was to make sure that you allow your child to have his own belief of God and not follow solely off of your beliefs. We gave the illustration of a camp fire. It's great that the kids can come to your campfire and warm themselves but when they leave they need to have that fire go with them or they will grow cold. They will not always be by your fire.

I truly believe Shaggy is there. It is time for him to build his own fire. In that process though you need to teach them how to find the right supplies. Sometimes they pick up things that would not make a great fire or even burn for that matter but we must let them learn.

Scott and I choose not to shame Shaggy or place fear in his life about his thoughts and feelings but just ask questions back. Right now is a safe time for Shaggy to wrestle. He is still in the safety of our home and under our authority. I believe when kids are following their parents beliefs and all of a sudden get thrown out into the "real" world without their own strongly founded convictions that's when trouble happens. They "explore" outside of the safety.

Jacob had to wrestle with God. Before that point Jacob referred to God as the God of his forefathers. He did not call him his own. He knew God existed but didn't have that relationship with him that was personal. After wrestling with God one night and the Lord literally popping his hip out Jacob called God his own.

It may take each of my sons a time of wrestling with God. It may even take a point of pain and discomfort for them to have their own fire lit inside of them but I am willing to allow them that time. I will pray and ask many questions to provoke their thoughts but they must come to their own conclusions.

At the end of our conversation with Shaggy I realized that deep down inside he truly does believe it's just the enemy seeking to rob him of that truth. Instead of feeding into the enemy's plans with my own fear I will allow the Lord to use all things to His glory. See unknown to the enemy this time of wrestling will ultimately change Shaggy's identity but for the glory of God. What the enemy meant for evil God will redeem and then this area in Shaggy's life will be that much stronger.

So personally I will allow them to doubt, God does and did. He didn't mind Thomas. I don't think he gets upset with the doubters it's those who think they know everything about Him that becomes a problem. Doubting just means there is great areas for growth and God is for that!