I have some dear Christian friends whose eight-year-old son profoundly struggles with doubting God. Although my heart aches for them as they parent him through unbelief, I’m not worried about him.
I’ve had a front row seat as my friends have talked with their son about his doubts and wiped away his tears of frustration. I’ve heard them reassure him that good people wrestle with unbelief, that he doesn’t have to feel guilty for being human.
When I look at their son, it occurs to me that he isn’t the one who’s going to fall away from the faith when he grows up. And here’s why: Because instead of hiding his struggles, he has a safe place to be open about them. Unlike some kids who grow up in rigid, superficially-spiritual homes, he doesn’t have to shove the darkness down and pretend like it doesn’t exist – he’s dealing with it now.
The whole thing inspires me to pray that as my children grow older, they, too, will trust me with their brokenness – whatever it is. I pray that they will never get the impression that I think it’s my job to fix them or teach them how to hide their sin.
And most of all, I pray that somehow, when it comes to their dark, internal struggles, I will communicate to them what Jesus communicated to all of us, with outstretched arms, on the cross: “I am not afraid of your sin, I do not need you to be perfect – I just want you to come home and let me love you right where you are.”