A Teenager’s Crisis of Faith

Recently, my three children and I ran into a lovely Mom and her 16-year old daughter.  My twins and her daughter attended the same small Christian school together from Kindergarten through 3rd grade. We hadn’t seen each other in about 6 years, so we caught up on each other’s happenings and the kids activities.

Five days later, that precious, beautiful 16-year old girl unexpectedly died.

You can imagine the extending ripple from the monstrous wave of grief for all even remotely associated with this truly godly family.  There are zero words that could adequately express the shock and grief.

My girls and I wept.  My son wasted no time before verbalizing his outrage at God.  For my kids, since they were not close to this young lady, their response to the news has been more faith-oriented than grief-oriented.

My 14-year old daughter daily walks with God, journaling and reading her bible. For her, the initial question was “why does He take the good ones?” Then, for two days she walked around clutching her bible with her eyebrows deeply drawn together. She then announced, “I don’t know how to feel. I want to enjoy my summer, but how can I laugh knowing this has happened? I feel terrible for them.”

My 16-year old daughter was wide-eyed, and in her usual fashion, kept much of her emotion inside.  She grieved for the family and accepts (even if she doesn’t understand) that His ways are not our ways.

My 16-year old son had already been wrestling with his faith for the last couple of years and this has sent him into an endless web of questions. “Why would He do this to her parents? Why would He give her to them at all only to take her at 16?  How could He take her… AT A CHURCH EVENT…when they were there for HIM??!!!”  “If I were her parents, I’d never go to church again. What are they supposed to do? Walk in there and worship?”  If you knew this family, I suspect that is exactly what they’ll do…in time.

This week my kids are serving at our church vacation bible school and my son announced last night that he’s “there to help kids, not there for God”.  I felt  nauseous at the words.  My heart is worried, and while I want to “fix” his faith, asking him to read A Case For Faith is not a good idea right now.

As a Mom, I desire that my kids view God as we’re taught to: as a loving “Daddy”, the One who we can “trust”.  What they know is that their earthly Dad would never knowingly allow such a brutal emotional assault upon innocent lives if he could prevent it.  Therefore, a crisis of faith has ensued, particularly for my son, who cannot reconcile a loving God with untimely death.

For mature adults, reconciling eternal love with earthly destruction and grief is hard.  For teenagers, it can be an even wilder raging internal battle.  They are old enough to understand the international depraved condition of our world, yet, as Christians, they are expected to trust and believe that there is an eternal purpose for the daily tragedies.

I’m not sure why God allowed us to meet up with that precious Mom and her sweet, godly daughter within days of His taking her.  Certainly, there was a fearful reminder that we know not the day nor the hour. I can only pray that my son will realize that there is no pastor, no bible scholar, and no Mom who can provide the answers he seeks. For those of us who have been where he is, eventually comes the acceptance that there is no where else to go but to our knees.