The one thing people of faith have in common is doubt.
“I struggle with my faith. It’s funny because I believe very powerfully in God and all that He can do and yet I have so many doubts.”
The longer I’ve lived and the more I’ve sought to know and understand God, the more I’m certain that doubts are essential to maturity in believers.
Challenge Your Outlook
The wrong response to doubting and questioning is to keep people in a “Christian bubble”—or simply to dismiss their questions and exhort them to “pray harder,” “read the Bible,” or “just believe.”
The better response is to teach people how to challenge their outlook.
Believers are instructed to be merciful to the doubtful. (Jude 22)
How To Doubt Your Doubts
1. Be honest with your doubts. Doubts aren’t weakness. Disciples who say they don’t have doubts are dangerous.
2. Question your beliefs. Questioning your beliefs is the best defense against questioning God. Distinguish between your ideas about God from who God is. Be thoughtful. Develop critical thinking.
3. Doubting isn’t smarter than believing. Why are intellectuals encouraged to doubt beliefs or convictions but not to doubt their doubts?
4. Faith does not require 100% certainty. Faith is not finite answers to infinite questions. If you were completely certain of everything you wouldn’t need faith. The opposite of faith is not doubt; it’s when you have it all figured out. Without faith it’s impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
5. Faith is not fantasy.Christian faith is founded in fact. That Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead is grounded in reliable accounts from eyewitnesses who saw a formerly dead man alive.
The documentary evidence is sound, and those bearing witness to what they saw made clear they meant what they said. As Peter explained, “We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses.” (2 Peter 1:16)
The insistence of Jesus’s early followers that what they asserted was true implies they knew it sounded incredible. That’s why they went to such lengths to provide careful accounts of what they’d seen and heard. The Gospel accounts have no ring of fantasy about them.
6. Doubt confronted will make faith stronger. The struggle with doubt you’re in today is building the faith you’ll need for tomorrow.
Billy Graham’s Struggle
Rev. Billy Graham passed away in 2018. 3.2 million people associate their conversion experience to Dr. Graham. He spoke to over 210 million in person in 185 countries. He is esteemed as the most influential Christian in history.
None of this would have been achieved if he had not leaned into a crisis of faith. In 1949 his fellow preachers and friends had lost their confidence in the authority and veracity of the Bible.
Billy was torn. He had unanswered questions and doubts about the Bible that cost him sleepless nights and weeks of struggle. In the middle of one sleepless night he got up, walked to a forest, placed his Bible on a tree stump and told God he wasn’t leaving until he settled the issue.
So he made a declaration – “I don’t understand everything in the Bible but I believe it is God’s inspired Word.” He found peace. Within a few weeks he was invited to hold a series of meetings in Los Angeles. He preached the Bible as God’s Word. The results changed America.
350,000 attended the meetings, 3,000 were converted and launched Billy Graham’s influence on a national and eventual worldwide scale.
7. Let your doubts lead you to worship. Intellectual and spiritual growth should lead you, not to overconfidence in your ability to figure God out but to your knees in worship.
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!”
The Grace Of God
Even the greatest, strongest believers experience deep darkness. None of us are spared sorrow or satanic oppression. Many suffer agonizing affliction at some point. Most of us will experience seasons when we feel as if we’ve been abandoned. Some of us will die hard deaths.
Jesus hears your call for help and is patient with your doubts. He does not condemn you.
He does not always answer with the speed you desire, nor is his answer always the deliverance you hope for. But he will always send the help that is needed. His grace will always be sufficient for those who trust him.
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