A child’s greatest enemy, doubt can become a best friend. The secret is to help him or her bring those doubts out into the open…to take them to God.
Looking at the following four faces of doubt will help set you and your children free to receive a faith strong enough to survive life in our dangerous modern world.
1. Not believing enough to take our doubts to God in prayer. The parent who would help his child escape doubt must help the child SEEK God with ALL his heart. The lukewarm soul cannot escape doubts of every kind.
The child, and we ourselves, must ASK the important questions. We must pray with all our heart something like :
“God help me to see who you really are, a kind God leaning forward over the edge of heaven looking for ways to keep people safe and protect them from sin.”
Trusting you is not easy for me God. I know it is people who do selfish things and Satan who loves evil. So why do I doubt you? I know you NEVER let bad things happen…you are a fixer not a destroyer. You can even fix death. Help me see you Father as the fixer: giving love for hate, forgiveness for sin, health for sickness and most of all comfort for fear. Guide my life Lord…help me overcome my doubts.
2. Letting other people make up YOUR mind. The problem of doubt dates back to the Garden of Eden when Satan first said to Eve. “Did God really say?” Her first baby step toward Satan was doubting God.
Her second baby step was to tempt Adam. Like Eve, people who do not have God or have lost him need someone to share their loneliness and doubt so they preach to the rest of us.” Slowly their voices surround us to the point that we barely hear God. In short we allow our friends to flood our minds with their doubt.
The one thing that can make our children strong enough to resist the doubts that surround them is ANCHORS – things that connect us to God and his love for us. The three anchors that come to mind are “Prayer”, “Scripture” and “Church attendance, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.” Ps. 1:1-2
3. Blaming God when bad things happen. The oldest book of the Bible, the book of Job, asks the oldest question of all, the question that sooner or later, adult or child, comes to us all: “Why does God LET bad things happen?”
Some years ago a child asked me this question and I gave her a quick answer but the question stuck with me. I prayed for literally two years and in the end heard in my heart what I will always believe is God’s answer, the same basic answer he gave Job.
Since the beginning of creation many bad things have happened because of the weakness of men and the pride of Satan but I have not LET one of those things happen. I am not a let-er I am a fixer. When bad things happen I am waiting in heaven for people to bring me their problems and hurts. I FIX the bad things, all the way from sin to death. All the way from fear to hopelessness.’
The point is that for Job, and us when things don’t suit us, blaming God is a way of doubting him…of not believing he is on our side…the only one who can FIX us and our doubts.
The key seems to be taking those doubts (ours and our children’s) to God and to pray about them until we are stronger than ever.
Four of God’s Old Testament characters come to mind: Moses was abandoned by his parents at birth, Samuel was given up at age 4, Daniel was sold as a slave as a teen, Joseph was beaten by his brothers and put in a hole to die…THEY ALL had cause to both blame and doubt God but scripture tells us what preserved them and made each of them the leader of their people. Moses prayed, Samuel learned to listen to God at an early age, Daniel stood up to peer pressure and chose loyalty to God over his friends, Joseph prayed, and prayed and prayed and God sent him DREAMS and set him free and like Moses, Samuel, and Daniel he became a leader of God’s people.
4. The problem of the media. In real life sin has consequences. In Hollywood and social media, the actors can do anything the writer wants and get away with it. In real life, regular church attendance has many blessings.
An overwhelming segment of modern media makes Christians out to be bigots or fools or both. Fortunately, God gives us His solution…God’s commands parents in Deut. 6:7-9: “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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
The point is to fill our homes with Bible verses…flip over bedside calendars with a verse a day for every day of the year, the first thing a child sees in the morning and the last thing at night…Christian art for our walls…a Bible memory card stuck in the child’s pocket first thing each morning… SURROUNDING OUR CHILDREN WITH GOD’S WORD…FILLING our homes with Bible verses.
In the words of Charles Spurgeon: “The best way to see others (our children) saved is to let God save us…utterly and completely. May we: pray with them daily, help them find true godly friends, encourage them to react to problems and hurts by turning to God not away from him, and most of all filling our homes with God’s word…surrounding them with Bible verses.
–Charles White is a retired preschool teacher, Global Facilitator of The Christian Childcare Coalition and web editor of www.bibleparent.com.