Dad, how do I know that God is real?1
While washing dishes last night, my youngest son looked over at me and asked, "Dad, how do I know that God is real?" He went on to explain that lately, with all this talk about Genesis going on at Holden Chapel, he keeps fighting the thought that this might all just be "made up".
To be honest, I was not expecting such a deep question from an 11 year old. I was unprepared, not knowing how to approach such brutal honesty from my innocent child. After feeling a bit of anxiety or panic, I began to rejoice in the fact that he is even thinking such deep thoughts, AND that he is willing to voice them to me. I am not so sure that his older siblings felt free enough to express such thoughts to me at such a young age.
So, as strange as this may sound to you, I made the choice to rejoice and relax in the fact that my child was doubting the existence of the God I love and serve. Why do I say this? Because it’s obvious that our boy is thinking. (which is a big thing for an 11 year old boy). He wouldn’t be struggling with issues like the existence of God if he weren’t being challenged in his learning and reflecting on what he was hearing. Given the research that has been done on middle school children, it’s really not surprising that he’s grappling with questions that didn't occur to many older people until much later in life.
I have decided to not let these questions discourage me. Instead, as an article by Focus on the Family Canada suggests, "challenge him to do some even deeper thinking by posing a few riddles of your own".
"Take him outside on a clear evening and have him look up at the millions of stars in the sky. Then ask him, “How do you think all of those stars got there?” Buy him a children’s book on the human body and read it together. As you examine the remarkable complexity of anatomy and physiology, ask him to ponder the deeper meaning behind it all. Does he really think that human beings are simply products of random chance? Could it be that we have actually been designed by a brilliant, all-powerful God? Which explanation fits the facts best? Inquiries like these should set the wheels of his mind turning in a positive direction". I have decided to keep feeding his mind, being very careful not to shut him down with shame or overkill, but by approaching every question with joy, knowing that God is at work!
I hope these thoughts encourage you to walk closely with God and your children this year!
Deut. 6:7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (and while you do the dishes)
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