I’ve been wrestling with some tough questions these past few months. In this post, I’m not going to try to answer them, because I know I don’t have all the answers. However, I’d like to present some truths regarding what doubts are and how we can deal with them.
You are not alone in your questioning.
If you were to ask everyone about whether they believed everything they were expected to, you’d be surprised at their answers. I promise, as much as we can know the answers, it’s not always easy to believe them. So before we try to hide that we can question aspects of our faith – for example, “Is God really for me? Is He really good? Am I really never alone?” – we should know that there are, in fact, other people in the world like us that question the same things.
However, that doesn’t necessarily make the doubts right – it just means that other people wonder the same things as us. If two people speculate that the grass is red and the sky is yellow, does that make them right? Absolutely not. They’re just confused together.
Similarly, when we doubt and realize that other people think the same way we do, that’s a good thing because we can relate to others. But when we doubt and conclude that because someone else agrees with us, the voices of doubt must be right, we’re looking at it from the wrong perspective. Questioning with others lets us breathe in the fact that others are like us, and not that we’re automatically correct. This leads into my next point.
Doubting is not a sin.
Doubt isn’t wrong, and questioning isn’t sinful. What doubts can do is lead us to discover what really is right. Finding support in others with similar doubts is a good thing because it allows us to look for answers alongside like-minded people. Doubting isn’t wrong in and of itself. However, if we stay in a point of skepticism, we can stunt out spiritual growth. This, however, can be resolved through the following point:
Times of questioning should be utilized to help us find answers.
Instead of shoving down those voices in your head, address them. If I’m doubting whether God loves me because something terrible has happened to me, I shouldn’t try to deny that. Instead, I should go to the Bible and find the truth for myself.
For instance, look at Romans 8:37-39.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
While I love this passage, and it tells me about the love of God, I want to be shown.
So let’s look at John 3:16.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
In this, my (hypothetical) doubt of God’s love slowly diminishes. When I can look to the Bible and see clear proof that I am loved, as much as doubts can still stay, it’s a little easier to believe that I really am loved. I don’t mean that the Bible is the end-all-be-all of doubt. I know that we can read the Bible for years and still not fully believe it. Trust me, the Bible doesn’t make all our doubts go away, but our doubts do not undermine the truth of God.
God does not expect us to live in blind faith.
Christianity isn’t about believing crazy “facts” that we pretend make sense. It’s about believing a rather reasonable truth – that God created the world, gave us free will, and we chose sin; because of our sin, He sent His Son to forgive us of our sin by dying and rising from the dead, and by believing that He was the perfect sacrifice for us, the only One who could pay the price for our sin, we are saved.
But He gives us the Bible and He gives us the Holy Spirit. He will reveal Himself to us when we seek Him, and gives us the proof of Jesus on earth for us. He doesn’t leave us to wander in the dark; He wants us to know Him. He wants us to trust Him.
It’s normal for us to encounter questions in our faith. It’s healthy to question in order to find out what truth is. However, we cannot live in a state of unbelief. Belief is the center of our faith, and faith is not possible if we stay cynical or skeptical.
In Mark 9, we read about a boy with an unclean spirit who is brought to Jesus to be healed. Let’s read a little bit of that passage.
And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
When we doubt, instead of giving into skepticism, let us dig for truth and exclaim, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Instead of letting go of our faith, let us find the answers to our questions, and seek God to help us believe them.