Is it wrong to question one's faith?

   I have two teenage boys.  They are at that age where I hope they start thinking about their faith.  When I was their age I used to really question my faith.  I remember thinking that God did not really exist, that He was just a made up fairy tale that my parents told me about in order to try and control me (I was pretty wild).   I had a girlfriend, she is still my girlfriend actually, whose mother was very Catholic.  They were Philippine and they had 8 kids in their family just like we did.  I used to go over to her house and have these long battles with her mother, who no matter how worked up I got, used to always respond confidently and calmly to me.  I look back on those days and I am ever so grateful for the time she took with me to help me understand God and my faith a little better.

   Recently, when my husband and my eldest son were not home, my 14 year old son decided to take me on....spiritually I mean.  It was like a flashback of old times.  He came at me with his ideals that "God is like Santa Clause" or, "He is just a mean person waiting to jump on me every time I do something bad" theories.  And I sat there thinking about my sweet Philippine friend's mother, so in that moment I became her, calm, confident, and loving.  We went back and forth for about an hour discussing every possible motive for good and evil, and battling the case for Christ and God in the world.  In the end we came to a few understandings.

   I told my son many things that I thought would help him during this time of spiritual growth, but one thing I hope helped him understand is that his faith is his alone.  No one can give him faith, or teach him how to love God, he has to learn that on his own.  I encouraged him to read the New Testament and to educate himself about Jesus and the love He had for him.  I repeated to him, "in no way is God a tyrant, or mean, or vengeful," God is only good.  God is Love (John 3:16), therefore, God only loves him and wants him to be happy.

   In the end, I think my son understood what I was trying to say.  It was really a grace filled moment for both of us.  My son is on a journey now to seek higher understanding, not from teachers or people who think they have all the answers, but from God Himself.  One thing is clear I told him, that everyone will die someday, whether 7 or 70 years old, what you do while you are on this earth will determine how you will spend the rest of your life after death.  You will either end up either in heaven or hell for all of eternity.  God is not a tyrant, He loves each one of us like a good father loves his children.  I explained that if I gave my son a curfew and he broke it I would learn that if he can not be responsible with the small responsibilities I give to him then he will most certainly not be responsible with the big things I ask of him.  That is how God is with each one of us.  He gives us opportunities to succeed and to be socially and morally responsible, to others, to the poor, to the needy, the sick, etc.  If we fail in those areas we most certainly will fail when the big things come up.

   My hope for all you you with children is that you realize that when your kids doubt or questions their faith, it really is a good thing!  It means they are wanting to understand it more deeply.  It is when they do not think about their faith that should cause us concern.  I am so grateful for my memories of my Philippine friend because without my own personal experience of doubting my faith, I don't think I could have ever understood how my son felt.  I'm glad he came to me, and I am glad I was there for him.  

Thank you God for sending me Your Son, and for giving me my son as well! :)


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