I came to Christ at a young age (8) and, while I’ve certainly had my issues over the years, I have never had struggles with drugs, alcohol, porn, or many of the things that kids get hooked on. Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t have a problem drinking because I HAVE tried several kinds of alcohol and can’t stand the stuff. I don’t have a problem with porn because, as a young teenager I looked at some stuff that ‘all my friends’ were looking at and it for whatever reason didn’t have a pull on my mind.
I’ve also never had a real ‘faith crisis’ like so many other people I grew up with or know about. I’ve had moments when I wondered if I had done something to cause God to withdraw His power or blessing…I’ve had moments when I’ve questioned if He was actually paying attention to all the details. But I’ve never had a single moment when I have doubted that He is real, He is God, He is there, or even that He is in control. At a very young age I just got it, that this world is fallen and it’s our fault, not His. Therefore, bad stuff happens and life isn’t fair…but in the end His Mercy and Justice win out over the things of this world.
However, many people don’t have that sense of perspective. And I don’t think less of them for it at all. Life is hard, and some stuff happens that we just know is wrong. Like when a single mom who works three jobs isn’t even there to say goodbye as her child dies of leukemia, because she has to work to pay the hospital bill. That isn’t fair, it isn’t right, but it does happen. And given a situation like that I can see how someone can question God’s existence, or at least His goodness.
That isn’t the real issue for me though.
The issue in these situations, as it is when a 18 year old graduates high school, goes off to college, and abandons faith and in so many other scenarios, is who’s faith is it that person is relying on? All too often the church and the family do a dis-service to our kids and teens by allowing them to coat-tail on mom and dads faith while we entertain and tell them stories. But they don’t experience the relational side of Christianity with our God for themselves. God is a concept and the Bible is a story book for them…He isn’t their personal God and the Bible isn’t His personal letter to them.
So, since it’s mom and dads faith and mom and dads religion, when things get tough and life doesn’t make sense they come to the ‘logical’ conclusion that A) God has failed them or their friends or B) God must not exist.
Going to church, singing songs, even having devotions isn’t what it’s all about. Setting an example by having a relationship that is real, and that your kids can see and be a part of…that’s what matters. That’s how they know there is some substance to this Christian ‘thing’.
So, ask yourself the hard question:
DO YOUR KIDS BELIEVE?not…do they like church, know a Bible verse, have mom & dad’s faithbut…DO YOUR KIDS BELIEVE?
And then, start building your relationship…and setting the foundation for theirs…based on the answer. It will make all the difference.
I am very thankful. Thankful that, despite what I sometimes see around me, I know beyond any doubt that I have a God who is alive and well, in control, and who ultimately has the victory. That isn’t based on how I feel or what might happen. It’s based on the relationship I have with Him.