Struggling with our faith, asking the right questions: part 1
Director of Campus Ministry Marty Kohlwey looks at common faith questions that arise from struggles teenagers face. Pt 1 of 2 on Answering the 4 Questions.
BY Marty Kohlwey
As I think over the years of my life and the lives of those I have been blessed to share life with, I am brought to deep emotion reflecting on the turbulent challenges we struggle through as adolescents and young adults. (Psalm 90, 2 Corinthians 1)
In a class I taught during my time at Concordia University, one-third of my students shared they struggled with mild to severe depression or other mental disorders. Others had families suffering with divorce, drugs, cancer, abuse, and death. These events attack us with questions of the goodness of God and sometimes even His reality.
Challenges to our faith are many and constant. Daily - whether we realize it or not - we are confronted with opposing and conflicting beliefs. Sports, social media, news, and entertainment present a very different value system than what God desires for us. These often push us to base our identity and meaning on our abilities, appearance, wealth, and material things.
How do we navigate through this life and the world in which we live? Where can we find strength and clarity to maintain a fulfilled identity, true meaning, and everlasting hope? Is God good? How do we find stability in life when we are only moments away from the highest highs and the lowest lows?
In reflecting on these questions, I have come to understand there are 4 questions crucial to give us a foundation to answer all others.
The 4 Questions
The 4 questions vital to each student's understanding of their God and their place in this world are:
- Who am I? (Identity)
- Why am I here? (Meaning and purpose)
- Is there any hope?
- Is there truth? If so, what is it?
During high school, teenagers struggle with these questions more than at any other time in their life. When viewed through the lens of the Christian worldview, humans can find joy in this life. They are able to have healthy relationships with peers, parents, and others in their community.
Impact on my own life
Like everyone else, I've gone through struggles, seen loved ones pass away, and helped others as they work through their own suffering. I don't know how I would have made it through without being confident in the answers to the 4 questions.
- My identity is not found in my work, family, wealth, appearance, or anything else fleeting. Instead, it's in my being a beloved child of God.
- My purpose can't be taken away because I am loved by Jesus and can love others because of Him.
- My hope is in God working all things for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
- I stand on the truth of God's Word concerning Jesus' death, resurrection, and return, and that eternal life is real.
I don't have to guess at these answers because God has the answers to the biggest questions in life. After deeply questioning my faith, I have found there is no better place to find a coherent understanding of life than what we find in Scripture.
In the next post, we will dive deeper into each of the questions and their answers in hopes of finding truth, joy, purpose, and hope.
Originally published in 2016, updated in 2022.
Struggling with our faith, answering the 4 Questions: Part 2
Marty Kohlwey, Lutheran High School Director of Campus Ministry, dives into the 4 questions we think are vital for all LuHi students to explorer.
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