Sometimes adults back away from talking to kids about the Bible because they’re afraid that the kids will ask a hard question.
Kids DO ask hard questions. Super tough questions. Questions that we sometimes can’t answer. They look at things from a fresh perspective and sometimes come up with questions we’ve never even thought about before.
So in response, adults back away from working in kids’ ministry (I’m not smart enough. I’ve never been to seminary) or parents back away from the hard discussions (that’s why I send them to church).
Meanwhile, a lot of kids are missing a lot of answers. Answers that will often strengthen their faith.
Why do we do when those tough questions surface?
Be willing to answer. Sometimes, because of fear, adults back away and brush off the questions. (I saw this happen with a high schooler and his youth leader. The teen asked a question and the leader laughed and said, “I’m sure you know the answer to that,” and walked away. Fortunately someone else witnessed what happened and was able to answer.)
Keep it simple. For example, say a seven-year-old asks, “What is God like? I mean, what is He really like?” A basic answer that He is perfect, He is good, and He is love will satisfy most kids. You don’t need to pull out big words like immutability or infinitude unless you want to and your child enjoys learning big words, (because there is a time and place for the big words).
Encourage the child to find the answer himself – from God’s Word. If the question isn’t all that difficult and several verses answer it, guide your child to finding those verses. Remind her of some verses she already knows that address the question. Help her look in a Bible concordance to search out the subject. Lead her to the right answer, but let her discover it herself.
Research the answer with the kids. Say a child asks “How far is it between Bethlehem and Nazareth?” You don’t know and haven’t really thought about it, but you also know this would be a fairly easy fact to find. So together you look at Bible dictionaries, atlases, mile distance sites on the web, and discover that it’s 80-90 miles. You could then figure out what’s 90 miles away from your town to get a mental picture of how far they walked. Some questions will be more difficult to research, but can be done. Be willing to take the time to search out an answer.
Ask for help. You know that there is an answer to your child’s question, but aren’t confident in explaining it. You remember the pastor spoke on the subject not all that long ago. Meet with the pastor and take your child with you. Have your child ask the question. (Any pastor I’ve been around loves answering questions from kids. Not attempting to be rude here, but if your pastor doesn’t like answering questions from kids, then maybe you should find a new church.) You’re teaching a couple things here. Not only will your child get the answer to her question, but you are also teaching her to ask the pastor for help when she needs it. And, I have seen over and over again, the better the child knows the pastor, the less likely she is to walk away from her faith.
Ask for even more help. Okay, you know your Bible well. You enjoy discussing things with your kids or teaching the kids in your ministry the deep truths of God’s Word. But you aren’t an expert in everything, so when that teen asks about the civilization of the Hittites (after studying it in school), you realize you have surface knowledge, but aren’t fluent in all the archeological finds, etc. However, your friend, an archaeology professor at a nearby college would love to share his knowledge with the kids. You invite him to your home for dinner or to your ministry to speak. In other words, you do what you can to get the most complete answer possible.
Explain that we don’t know the answers to everything. We aren’t God, so we don’t comprehend everything about Him. He is sovereign, He is infinite and He is our Creator. We are human with limited knowledge. Some things are God’s secret, but He tells us everything we need to know.
Deuteronomy 29:29 – The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
Answering our kids’ questions is a challenging privilege. We don’t need to back away. We can work with them to find the answers, get help from others, and teach them that some things only God understands.