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How Can Parents Walk with Kids who are Doubting Their Faith?

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I remember sitting across from a long-time mentor of mine a few years ago as he shared with me the prayer request that was gripping his life at the time. One of his children was struggling with doubt in her faith. Read on to see what I learned.

But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.”

Luke 24:11

I still remember the feelings that request evoked in me. I was a brand new dad and was wide-eyed to a challenge that seemed so distant when I considered my young baby at home. I mean doubt happens of course, but it is due to bad parenting, right?

How could my Godly friend’s child be doubting so much? Especially considering her parents were faithfully walking with God and had been so proactive in sharing truth in their home? If these parents couldn’t prevent doubting what chance do I have?

In the months to come I prayed for my friend and made some interesting observations along the way as he and his wife leaned in to this difficult situation.

  1. Be gracious. The verse above is how the DISCIPLES reacted to the news that Jesus had risen from the grave! Check out Luke 24:1-12 and see the other reactions. I point this out to show us that these men and women saw Jesus do some incredible things (calm storms, feed thousands, raise people from the dead, to name a few) and yet they had doubts. So maybe doubting is not so crazy, but rather look at what Jesus did in Luke 24:27. He graciously explained to them and taught them what was going on and in verse 32 says that their hearts “burned” as he talked.
  2. Lean in to the struggle and recognize the opportunity. My friend decided to lean in by reading with his child a book regarding the subject she was doubting. They would read and discuss, and this opened opportunity for honest conversation. As the process continued, my friend would later share with me he would rather have a child wrestle with these thoughts while still under his care then later in life when he was not as present. This doubting crisis turned into a blessing and a galvanizing time for his child.
  3. Pray. God is the One with the power to change hearts and reveal truth, so ask Him to work. And that means pray that he would grow you and mature you. Pray that you would have a growing and healthy faith and that God would give your child a strong faith like they see in you (Philippians 4:9, 2 Timothy 1:13-14, 1 John 5:13-15).

Our God is good and gracious, and He certainly understands a child struggling with doubt is difficult and heartbreaking. This gives us even more reason to cling to His word: “Trust in Lord with all you heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5

Camper Corner

Be courageous enough to share your doubts with your parents.  Ask your parents: Have you ever struggled with doubting anything? What was it and how did God grow you in it?

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