As Christian parents, we want to raise children who have deep roots in the gospel so that when the storms and droughts of life come along, they will be unshaken. Last time I wrote about all the different things you can do at each developmental stage to create a disciple-making environment for your kids.
But what if sometimes we feel shaken? What if the ground beneath us that once felt so strong and secure, begins to give way? What if we start to question what we have believed for so long?
In faith, authenticity matters
It is not your job to “save face” for God. You do not have to cover for Him when you are left questioning His sovereignty or goodness.
The prophet Jeremiah was a pretty faith-filled guy. In the face of being mocked, mistreated and even threatened with death, he clung to what he knew to be true. And he couldn’t keep that truth in. At times, he wanted to just shut his mouth and walk away, but the Spirit who had called him to his work would not allow it (Jeremiah 20:9). No matter the cost, he followed God.
But that doesn’t mean he didn’t struggle.
The beauty of this prophet’s faith is that it was real. The book of Jeremiah gives us a behind the scenes look at the real life struggles he had with his faith. To an outsider, he would seem solid and steadfast.
But his private prayers revealed a different story. He was full of questions and doubt and fear. Check out Jeremiah 12:1-4; Jeremiah 15: 10-18; and Jeremiah 20:7-18 and you will see what I mean.
The book of Lamentations (also written by Jeremiah) actually ends with a question. It reads, “Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had! Or have you utterly rejected us? Are you angry with us still?” (Lamentations 5:21-22 NLT). Right before this, in verse 19, Jeremiah is proclaiming the greatness of God. Then, just a sentence or two later, he’s asking if He even cares at all.
Questions are not an indicator that God is no longer on the throne of your heart.
Lamentations ending in a raw question is a gift. It gives us permission to wrestle with hard things, to not have all the answers all the time.
So yes, it’s okay if your kids see you question God or have struggles with your faith. And it’s okay if they ask you a question about God that you don’t know the answer to. If it’s answerable, find it together. If it’s not, say it. Faith requires some level of “just cuz” mentality. If we had all the answers, it wouldn’t be faith at all.
If you are willing to be real and genuine about your faith, the raw truth of your faith, your kids will model what they see.
So sometimes, like Jeremiah, our questions go unanswered.
And sometimes there will be an ellipse to our heart ache. . .
But it’s okay. It’s real and it’s authentic. And that is exactly the kind of relationship we all pray our kids will have with the Lord.
[If you are really struggling with your faith, don’t go it alone. Reach out to a a trusted mentor or a pastor. If you do not have a support person and could use prayer, KLove Radio has a dedicated prayer team of pastors who will pray with you.]