Have you ever met a Christian who seems to have it all figured out? They seem to have the perfect life, their job fulfils them, friends and family never let them down, they keep themselves in perfect health. It can be so disheartening and can make us feel like there is something missing in ourselves.
Let me tell you something, everybody has doubts. At some point in our lives, we all have seasons of doubt in our faith, our family, our colleagues, even God. We do ourselves a great disservice if we think that we must always be strong in our faith in order for our lives to be right with God.
God does not want robots serving and praising him, he created us with a brain that questions, surmises and debates. If we see doubts as bad then we don’t allow ourselves to grow in our faith and relationships. We will live our lives out in a little cocoon of what we have been told by other people, never knowing the full joy of a faith that’s seen us through adversity and brought us out the other side stronger than ever.
A Righteous Doubter
There are so many examples of people who doubt God in the bible. Abraham and his wife Sarah were incredulous when told that they would be the couple through whom the nation of Israel would be born. The two of them laughed in the face of Gods promise. A visiting angel was not enough to convince them that God still had plans for the latter years of their life.
Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”
Genesis 17 v17
Abraham and Sarah obviously were proven wrong and did have their son. Stronger than ever, they brought Isaac up lovingly and to be God fearing. When, several years later, God gave Abraham a command that, according to human thinking, made no sense, he acted on it without hesitation. Abraham’s faith in God was so strong that he knew, despite his command to sacrifice his only son, that God would save him. It might be in the resurrection in years to come, but Abraham would see his son again. (Isaac wasn’t sacrificed in the end – look up Genesis 22)
Room for Growth
Even amongst Christ’s closest followers, the disciples, there were doubters. The immediate example that comes to mind is Thomas, known fondly as Doubting Thomas. He refused to believe that Christ was risen until he touched the hole in Jesus’ hands and feet. Can any of us blame him? His saviour had just been killed by the power that had oppressed their country for years, he had been put in a tomb for the dead and now they were trying to tell him he was alive?
I think I’d doubt too.
However, as soon as Thomas saw Jesus alive, his fears and doubt vanished to be replaced by joy. (John 20 v24-29)
One of my favourite characters in the story of Jesus is Peter. He’s just so human! He makes mistakes, says the wrong thing at the wrong time, leaps in without looking. He reminds me so much of me. There are times Peter doubts.
The most famous instance being when Christ invites him to walk on water with him. Peter jumps over the side of that boat in his eagerness to be with Jesus. It’s not long before the buffeting waves and rain distracts him and he starts to sink, he doubts the power of God after taking his eyes off Christ. Now this particular example is an excellent exhortation in keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, but I think it also illustrates the point of this article.
IT’S OK TO HAVE DOUBTS.
We know that Peter went on to be an amazing apostle and he spread the gospel with passion.
Please don’t let anyone tell you you are weak for having doubtful periods in your life.
Don’t stop questioning what you believe.
Through doubts and questions our faith grows exponentially and we learn tools that are needed for a LIFETIME in Christ. If we look to little children, they never stop asking questions, learning about the whys the wherefores to equip them for life as an adult. Jesus tells us to become ‘as little children’ to enter the Kingdom. (Matthew 18 v2-5).
Let’s open our Bibles with a questioning and inquisitive heart, and grow our faith day by day.