“Mom, I’m just not sure I’m buying that nothing created God. I mean, it just doesn’t seem possible. How can there be no beginning and no end to God?”
Those moments when you love seeing your child’s brain thinking, but you start panicking at the same time because you aren’t quite sure how to handle the questions.
I’ve found myself in those moments often over the last 8 years as my children have started transitioning from following God because Brent and I do to figuring out if they want to follow Him on their own.
When the hard questions get asked, my mind starts jumping from making sure I:
Give enough space so they don’t feel pressured
But not too much space so they completely walk away from God
I don’t want to appear to not know the answer
But I want to teach them to trust God at the same time
Parenting a child as they begin to transition from simply believing because you believe to starting to think for themselves can be a little intimidating. But it doesn’t have to. These are the top few things I’ve done to help as we walk (and continue to walk) through these transitions.
3 Ways to Help Your Child as They Start Questioning God
Teach them God doesn’t mind the questions
God has told us clearly in 2 Timothy 2:7 “the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” If we believe the Bible is true (which we do), then we know we can’t grasp everything without asking God for help! When your child starts to ask the hard questions, this is the perfect time to teach them how to turn to God for answers.
For example, the question at the beginning of this post. My child just COULD NOT buy the fact that God was not created. He was obsessed with this thought., and he drove his Sunday School teachers crazy asking them to explain it. When they tried to give the easy Sunday school answer “because God says so”, my son wasn’t having it. More than once I had a teacher stop me and ask to have him stop asking that question in class and to encourage him to “be an example”. (that’s a whole other blog post!)
But I didn’t ask him to stop.
Instead, I encouraged him to keep asking. (Just maybe not in class anymore) We read various scriptures that say God gives understanding and told him God loved his questions. Daily, we reminded him he had the Holy Spirit to help him understand. Then, we prayed over him for the Lord to open his eyes to help him understand.
And, as I modeled and helped him seek God about his question, he started reading the Bible on his own. I’m pretty sure the kid memorized Genesis 1 that year because he just kept reading and waiting for God to give him understanding.
Teach them the power of the Holy Spirit
No matter the age of your child, their questions are the perfect time for you to teach them how to rely on the Holy Spirit. Oftentimes, as their parent, we want to be the Holy Spirit in their lives, but that’s not what God has asked of us.
We are to teach and train and model and guide, but we aren’t to be God to them.
For example, do they struggle with creation? Okay, well this is what the Bible says. This is why I believe it. What are your questions/thoughts? Let’s ask God to help you as you work through them. Then pray over your child asking God to give him/her understanding as he/she continues to wrestle through this concept.
God, in his kindness, sent the counselor, God himself, to us after we accepted Christ. For the rest of your child’s life, he/she will need to learn how to let the Holy Spirit guide and speak. These initial questions are the beginning of learning how to trust the Holy Spirit.
Teach them the power of Prayer
As your child has real questions about God and life, it is your job as the parent to help them navigate the questions. So listen attentively. Don’t dismiss the questions or get upset. Refuse to feel anxiety about your child starting the process of walking with God on their own.
This can be HARD! Your child questioning God may make you nervous. When my son was going through his questioning of if God was created or not, it made so many adults nervous. They would ask him to just believe. Statements like “what would your dad say if he knew you were questioning God in this way?” Or “you’ll understand when you’re older” seemed to be the answer he got from most people.
And none of those statements settled his soul.
The questions remained.
But when we validated his question was a hard one and the type of concept that only God in his sovereignty could help us understand, suddenly he felt free to seek God on the answer. And the main way we helped him do this was through prayer.
I would pray over him and ask God on his behalf to help him understand. We would give him suggestions on how to ask God himself. At random times throughout the day, I would tell him I had prayed the Lord would help him understand better today.
It all sounds trite and Sunday School type answers BUT my constant prayers and interaction telling him I was praying and expecting God to answer gave him the confidence to seek God as well. Suddenly, my prayers made it seem normal to have questions and wrestle with God until God gave some understanding.
Overall, as your child tries to understand the abstract things of God, there will be a ton of questions. Don’t be scared of them! Encourage the questions remembering God gave us the Holy Spirit to give us understanding. Then pray over your child as they learn to seek God on their own. While there is never a guarantee on how your child will follow God, setting them up to learn to trust God’s voice and bring the questions to Him is a great start.
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