Have questions about your faith? You are not alone.
Today, seemingly everyone acknowledges their questions and doubts. They have become accepted in Christianity. In some ways, this has been a positive and needed shift.
As someone who grew up with significant, lingering questions and not many honest answers, I rejoice that pastors and leaders are acknowledging the legitimacy of questions and helping Christians work through their doubts.
God is big enough to handle anything we cast on Him. When we act as if God can’t answer or refuses to walk with us in our struggles, we diminish both His power and His love.
Having said that, many Christian leaders have made a subtle transition from acknowledging the existence of doubts to celebrating their existence. That’s not as healthy.
In fact, it’s an indicator we have embraced a cultural understanding of truth, instead of the biblical one. Society sees truth as something unattainable, instead of recognizing truth as Someone undeniable.
Either we acknowledge John 14:6 or we don’t. Jesus identified Himself as the truth, any refusal to seek truth is a rejection of Jesus.
Yet within our culture, to make such claims is too harsh. People want truth softened so that it becomes unoffensive. A plurality of Americans say truth is relative and changes according to our circumstances.
According to Barna, 80% of Americans claim to be worried about the moral condition of the country, yet 57% believe moral truth is best determined by your personal experience. We want the security of truth, but without the restrictions.
Most Americans view truth like a lock on your door. You can use it to keep out the things you don’t like, but you can unlock it and open the door anytime you’d like. In other words, the ultimate decision maker is you.
This has carried over into our faith. If you have doubts about central tenets of Christianity, even that can be “true for you.” There is no expectation to move beyond those moments to anything more firm or solid.
But this type of Christianity will not last. And it’s not the type of faith we see in Scripture. Yes, we read about the struggles even great people of faith had, but we do not see them content to stay there.
Many, myself included, see ourselves in the father of the demon-possessed boy in Mark 9:14-29. We can often hear ourselves pray, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” That juxtaposition is real.
But his statement does not give us a license to doubt. In fact, it’s the opposite. The man recognizes that he needs to move beyond his unbelief, but he needs help from Jesus to make that happen. That’s not doubt. That’s faith.
Many want to take the father’s statement and use it as a mantra to celebrate any and all doubts. But this passage doesn’t show doubts being rejoiced over; it recognizes doubts can be redeemed.
There is a clear difference between, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief” and “Lord, I don’t believe and you’ll just have to be OK with that.”
The former is a faith-driven cry for help, while the latter is an arrogant yell of defiance. And that is the irony of it all.
Doubt becomes so central it is as demanding as any truth claim. To question the legitimacy of doubting is challenging the one unshakable truth to which many cling—my doubts are perfectly fine and there’s no reason I should change.
But the same God who listens to our doubts and questions is the same God who reveals Himself in the person of Jesus and the words of Scripture. We pursue truth because that is where we will find Jesus.
Until we know as we are known (1 Cor. 13:12), we will not have all the answers. There will be things we don’t understand. But that should not lure us into complacency. It should spur us to dive deeper into God and explore Him more fully, seeking understanding and answers.
Doubts are opportunities for growth. They aren’t meant to be our permanent spiritual homes. We call out for Jesus to help us move beyond them, not into them.
Use your doubts to deepen your faith. Ask questions so that you might gain answers. But do not arrogantly view them as the end point.
Anytime you refuse to keep pushing toward the truth you miss out on an opportunity, like the father in the Gospel of Mark, to grow in faith and experience Jesus—Truth personified—in a new way.
Doubts and questions can be good, but only if they lead you to the Truth.