If the gospel is true, then it’s going to be Jesus who saves our kids, not us. He is the only one who can. And that’s the tension we have to live in. It might be 10 years before one of our children comes to faith. We might not live to see it. But it could also happen tomorrow. The truth is, we don’t know. But if Jesus is trustworthy, as he has already shown himself to be time and again, then we need to trust him with our kids. Because who else is worthy?
As our kids have grown from babies and toddlers, preschoolers to big kids, and now to teens and tweens, every stage has brought different blessings and challenges. When our kids were little, parenting was all about overt instruction: moral and obedience training that we often referred to as teaching them to people. As they grew we worked to introduce more complex reasoning and training to help them consider the “why” behind the decisions we all make. Now, we are more or less in the coaching stage of parenthood, trying to help them apply all the principles and values that we’ve taught them over the years.
I’d like to think that we’ve done a decent job raising them as Christian parents ought. To raise them in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, NET). To point our kids to Jesus, sharing the gospel with them, explaining what we see in the world in light of our faith. But no one prepared me for the day when one of them would say they aren’t sure Christianity is true.
The Blessing and Challenge of a Questioning Kid
One of our kids asks a lot of big questions. A lot a lot of them. On every conceivable major issue. And, honestly, that’s really great. I love that this child feels safe asking challenging questions. That this child wants to discuss big topics.
But it is honestly a little soul crushing to hear that same child say that if feels like you’re always “shoving Bible verses and theology” at them. That this child only wants me to discuss big issues with verifiable facts. With things that are true, as this child described.1 Because how do we even know that anything in the Bible is even true? How do we know that Christianity is true when there are so many other religions? So what good are opinions when trying to deal with real questions?
Full disclosure: We struggle with communication in my family. Most, if not all of us, have some kind of neurological divergence: three people have ADHD. One is on the autism spectrum. One more is waiting for an assessment for diagnosis.2 This can lead to a number of difficulties, especially when discussing complex issues. But even so, we don’t shy away from them. Instead, we try to discuss openly and honestly.
Despite all this, when my child said all this to me, I felt like I had failed as a parent.