The tears streamed down her face as she laid out a list of philosophical questions that were eating her alive. She had been walking around with the weight of unanswerable questions settled firmly on her small shoulders, and in this moment the burden broke her down right in front of my eyes.
She has good, legitimate questions about this life and how it all works and how things fit into God’s design for us. I wish I could give her the satisfying answers that she craves. But, I can’t, because the answers don’t exist in our realm of understanding.
So, how should we respond when our children ask us to provide the answers that just can’t be found? Here are three ways to handle the moment.
1. Admit that you don’t know the answer.
Sometimes I think we worry that if we ever seem to not know something we will appear weak or stupid in the eyes of our kids. On the contrary. Explaining to our kids that their question can’t be dismissed with an easy answer shows them that everyone struggles with the unknown. Tell them that you have wondered the same thing, and help them to understand that these questions and the desire to know their answers is perfectly normal.
2. Don’t panic or scold them for questioning.
Please hear me when I say that it is absolutely, 100% natural for Christian people to have moments of wondering why in the world God does things the way He does. Our kids are no exception. If your child comes to you upset because she can’t understand why God doesn’t just heal everyone or save everyone, if he comes to you angry because of the way God set up His plans for humanity, be understanding. Guide them toward the truth that God asks us to trust Him, even when His ways are difficult to accept or comprehend.
3. Use every opportunity to point to God’s goodness.
It’s important that we reassure our kids that God is in control and He does have a plan, and that plan is good. He is good. And, whatever happens in this world, no matter how many unanswerable questions remain, we can rely on God’s wisdom, His character, and His grace.
We don’t have to live in fear of hearing a question from our kids that we can’t answer. Don’t panic, just admit that we all wonder about these things, and then point to what we do know: God is good and we can trust Him.