I had an interesting conversation a while back with a nineteen-year-old girl, Jen, who worked at a restaurant next to our offices. It’s a restaurant our staff frequents, so we’ve had quite a few discussions with her about life, college, work, and other important topics. I am always amazed at her perspective and optimism about life. She explained the idea of not saying it in a way that I won’t ever forget. When I asked her what she thought about church, she told me she had never really enjoyed church. When I asked her why, she said, “Most of the churches I have been to tell me what I am supposed to believe, and they do it really loudly. Sometimes it’s so dramatic I can’t even think about what I’m learning. There are a lot of things I am trying to figure out about God.”
I asked where she planned to go figure it out.
Jen explained, “Actually, I hang out with a lot of friends who don’t know what they believe either. We have a blast sitting around and talking about God. It’s like we are putting this big puzzle together, and I’m not sure we want someone that keeps leaning over our shoulders to tell us where all the pieces go. If that happened, it wouldn’t be any fun anymore.”
Go back and read that one more time. Did you notice she was actually having fun talking about God? Someone who is not going to church and doesn’t really know what she believes about God is actually enjoying the process of finding out about God. So what do you think God is thinking? Do you think He is frustrated? Do you think He’s mad because these teens are not in church? I don’t think so. I can imagine God motioning to a couple of angels and pointing in the direction of these students saying, “Do you hear them? They are sitting around talking about Me. And they are having a lot of fun! I think they want to get to know Me. So I’m thinking at the right time, in the right moment, I may just introduce Myself.” The point is they gravitated toward a safe place where they could ask questions about God and not be judged for it. That’s actually the kind of environment that I think churches and homes should strive to create.
Isn’t it interesting that God leaves out a number of details about Himself? You say, “What about the Bible?” I know there’s a lot in the Bible, but have you ever stopped to think about what’s not in the Bible? I believe God told us the most important stuff, but there is still an element of mystery. Maybe God is more interested in our pursuit of Him than anything else. He doesn’t want us to package Him so neatly or define Him too narrowly. If we could explain everything there is to explain about God, He wouldn’t be God.
If that’s true, why does it bother us as parents so if we don’t have all the answers to our kids questions? You don’t have to know everything about God to trust Him; you just need to know enough. Don’t get nervous when your kids ask hard questions. Kids, like adults need time to digest and process. They need to do what Jen and her friends are doing. As parents and leaders, we need to encourage them to experience the thrill of finding pieces of the puzzle. We need to carve out some time in our homes to talk less and listen more. Create a safe place where your kids can discover.
What are some of the best questions your kids have asked recently?