But test everything; hold fast to what is good. – 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NRSV)
My daughter is the Total Skeptic variety of PK (Pastor’s Kid): not interested in church, not inclined to simply accept what she is being taught or what her father is preaching about.
Once she asked me about the Holy Spirit, and I brought her to the window to point out the swaying trees, attempting some poetic apologetics: “Ah! The Holy Spirit is like the wind. We can feel the wind, we can observe how it moves the trees, but we can’t see the wind itself.” Yadda yadda.
I was greatly impressed with my object lesson. She was unconvinced. Same with the bedtime Bible lessons.
While her skepticism sometimes makes me question if I’m really any good at my job as a pastor, I am encouraged by her instinct to test everything she reads, hears, and experiences because it seems to be leading her to find deeper meaning.
She doesn’t enjoy coming to worship – but she knows church is a place where many different people love each other.
She doesn’t believe in healing miracles – but she knows we must help people who are sick and hurting.
She doesn’t believe in the feeding miracles – but she knows we need to help people who are hungry, and she knows it’s wrong that there is hunger.
She doesn’t believe that God literally created humans in God’s image – but she knows every person is worthy of dignity and love.
Yes, there are times that I kind of wish she’d simply accept my lessons without question. But that’s about me and not her. She is testing everything, and she is holding fast to what is good. And that sounds a lot like the faith and discipleship that I pray for.
Holy One, guide us in our questions and doubts, and help us to hold fast to what is good and true.
Chris Mereschuk contributed this devotional (edited for length) to Hard and Holy: Devotions for Parenting, a collection of devotionals for the spiritual practice of raising, teaching, learning from, delighting in, and cleaning up after children. Order Hard and Holy today.