Matt: What do you do when a student tells you that he is not sure he believes in the Bible or in God? What would your response be? I’ve had this experience the past couple weeks and the first thing I did was pray. I asked God to give me the right words to say and to lead this student in a way that would be gently helping him come to his own conclusion. First off I asked him if something has happened in his life that has caused him to have doubts. Second I asked him if he was reading his Bible and having quiet times and trying to come closer to God. I explained that if we want a relationship to grow you have to work at it–it doesn’t just happen.
In this case I believe that something has occurred that is causing him to doubt and wonder why God has let him down. I had those same doubts shortly after both of my parents died within a short time of each other when I was a teenager. I gave him specific examples of how I came back to fully believing and committing my life to Christ. This is one of those times when how and what we are doing can be a huge example to a student.
Steven: Usually doubt isn’t something we deal with a lot in junior high. Quite honestly, I think it should be something more frequent for a junior higher–most of them are going through a transition from living on their parents’ faith (if they had one to begin with) to developing a faith of their own. That can be a rough time, so it seems like doubt would be more prevalent. Nevertheless, it seems to be more common in high school.
Either way, I think doubt is a good thing at the end of the day. If we’re honest, we’ve all struggled with some form of doubt, and my guess is that most of us have come out of that season stronger in our faith. There are a lot of questions one has to work through during a season of faith-doubt, and the journey to answer those questions can be a very helpful thing in the long run. To put it in a sentence: when a student is experiencing doubt, don’t discourage it, but walk through it with them. You can be a huge resource and source of encouragement in those troubling seasons.