A few days ago a young man asked me whether or not I ever have doubts about my faith. My answer was an emphatic yes! I go through regular times of doubt, don’t you? Anyone who says they never doubt must have a host of empty headed moments or find themselves completely closed minded to ideas or opinions other than their own. I believe doubts can be a good thing! Doubts cause us to consider what we believe and find reason to believe all over again. If we don’t allow ourselves a moment of doubt we never allow a competing point of view to challenge us. Tragically, this is where a lot of Christians find themselves; a lot of us are afraid to allow the possibility for anything which might create doubt in our mind.
I remember one of my earliest moments of doubt came in the 6th grade when my social science teacher taught a history of mankind very different from that I had learned at church. I was near a panic attack as my classmates and I began to question and challenge her theories of evolution and cavemen. In fact, I tried to shut down the debate altogether, not in the interest of “moving the class” along, but for fear that if she continued teaching the material I might lose my faith in Jesus altogether. My doubts were real and they were crushing me. It was like the moment I learned Santa Claus was a story my parents had made up to make Christmas more fun and magical. I began to wonder if my parents and church had done the same in order to make life fun and magical as well. But this crisis and the doubts it fueled led me to seek answers. My search soon led me to become convinced that the church’s doctrines were strong and that it took far greater faith to believe in evolution than the God of creation. In fact, I concluded the science of creation to be much more reliable and trustworthy than that upon which evolution depended.
My doubt had served a fantastic purpose and made my faith in Christ stronger.
Through the years I have had many times in which I have doubted my faith in Christ. I am sure I will have more such moments in the future. I am not ashamed of these occasions nor do I suspect they will ever weaken or destroy my faith in Christ. I don’t fear such tests of faith. But I confess I don’t enjoy them very much either. I have concluded that I know very, very little of what constitutes truth and God often uses these moments of doubt to expand my knowledge of it. There is a sense of security in the feeling that we control, contain or define truth. God is less than impressed with our attempts to do so and occasionally disrupts our sense of comfort with a bout of doubt in order to move us along.
Time and again my periods of doubt bring me to a deeper understanding of God, Jesus and His plan for my life. These moments inevitably lead to a greater ability to explain my faith and defend it against those who try to prove it to be nothing more than mere myth. I now realize that if I never allowed my questions to surface and be addressed my experience with Jesus would be much less than it is today.
So my advice to those with questions is to doubt and doubt strongly! Allow your questions to rage in your mind and be spoken in places where people will actually hear them. Hold nothing back! Pray and express your doubts to God Himself (He already knows you have them). Then begin searching for answers in the Bible, other believers, apologists and lots of prayer. Do some soul searching and trust that what God said in Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please God. For anyone who comes to Him must believe He exists and rewards those who diligently seek Him.” If we are searching with a sincere and open heart for God and what He has defined as true there is no doubt all of our searching will be rewarded.
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