I was trying to read the newspaper yesterday while I was waiting for lunch to cook. My 11-year-old came in the room and started asking questions about another article on the page I was reading. Frustrated that she kept asking questions about an article I hadn’t read, I looked at her and said, “I don’t know. You’ll have to read it yourself.”
Kids ask questions. They are fountains of curiosity. And sometimes that curiosity gets on our nerves. Sometimes we get tired of the constant barrage of who, what, where, when, why and how.
When it comes to questions about faith and God, we sometimes shy away from our kids’ questions. We make them think it’s not OK to have questions. We think our kids should just take what we have to say about God, Jesus and faith as gospel truth. We may not know all the answers, and we may be scared our kids are struggling in their faith when they start to question God.
But questioning God and their faith can actually be a healthy process, if we allow our kids to do it in an open manner. If we choose to answer their questions and encourage them to find the answers themselves, our kids can actually come out the other side of a period of questioning with a stronger faith.
My younger daughter is my child who questions God. She struggles to reconcile a loving God with the evil she sees in the world. She wonders if miracles could really happen. She tries to make a really big God fit inside her ability to understand Him. And she asks questions.
Sometimes those questions scare me. I worry about her faith. I wonder if she’s going to walk away from it all when she’s older.
But why do I worry? Do I think that God is not strong enough to stand up to the scrutiny of a 9-year-old? Do I think He’s never had anyone question Him before? God isn’t worried or troubled by her questions, so why should I be?
Wrestling with God can actually help our kids to come out changed and stronger in their faith. Just look at Jacob. Genesis 32 tells us that Jacob actually physically wrestled with God. In the morning, He was a changed man. He went from being Jacob to Israel — the father of God’s chosen people.
It’s OK for our kids to question God. It’s OK for them to wrestle with Him. God is big enough and strong enough to stand up to their scrutiny. And in the process, our kids just might end up with a stronger faith because they’ve wrestled with God and God has won.