“Just have faith!” It’s a cliche that gets thrown around at church and in the Christian community. The words are trite and come with an underlying message that your problems stem from a lack of faith, but do they? Is there really anything wrong with struggling through doubt? Or is there a purpose to doubt?
Without doubt there is no growth
Doubt leads to questions, and questions lead to exploration. In Matthew 22:37, Jesus tells us to love God with all of our mind. This means we are to explore and seek out who God is. To do this, we have to ask questions. To form questions, there must be room for doubt.
If you struggle with finding the questions, try making friends and having real conversations with people who believe differently than you. Having a friend who believes God does not exist or who holds to a different system of faith is important to your own spiritual growth. The conversations you will have will be challenging and enlightening. They will send you diving back into Scripture to find answers. In the end the truth will shine through.
First Peter 3:15 tells us to be ready to give an answer of our faith in all situations. In order to do this, we must first understand our faith.
Bible characters who doubted
The Bible is full of characters who doubted God. Why? Because it is a normal process of the faith journey. God handed out some outrageous tasks that went against how each of these characters understood the world around them. Of course they questioned! We’ve been questioning God’s will for our lives since the very beginning. The questions lead us to a place of maturity, giving us a stronger foundation for the storms in life that will come.
The Bible is weird. It’s full of talking donkeys, outnumbered armies winning, senior citizens having babies and people rising from the dead. Yes, of course the following Bible characters had some doubts:
- Abraham and Sarah laughed at the news they would have a son in their old age; see Genesis 17:15-21.
- Moses wrestled with God’s call on his life over and over again; see Exodus 3.
- Gideon asked God to confirm through two back-to-back signs that he could trust what was being said; see Judges 6:36-40.
- Barak doubted that God would lead them into victory, so Deborah had to go with him into battle;see Judges 4-5.
- The father of a sick boy asked Jesus for healing and said, “I believe. Help me with my doubts!” (Mark 9:24 MSG).
- John the Baptist sent a message to Jesus asking Him to confirm that He truly was the Messiah, even though John had been the one to baptize Him; see Matthew 11:1-7.
- After Jesus’ arrest, Peter denied knowing Him out of fear and doubt; see Luke 22:54-62.
- Thomas doubted the Resurrection and needed the physical proof of Jesus’ nail-scarred hands; see John 20:24-29.
These stories all ended with God showing up and being faithful to the promises made. The men and women in these stories doubted, and their faith only grew stronger for it. When we doubt and ask questions, we stand in good company.
If you are wondering what it means to authentically follow Jesus, join us on Unfiltered Radio as we investigate who He claimed to be and how He taught us to dig deeper.