Doubt & Dead Ends
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and all that was within them. He created everything, and everything was wonderful until Eve committed a sin of commission by eating from the tree of knowledge of good & evil, and Adam committed a sin of omission by doing nothing about it. Sin befalls the world, and everything changes. Anger, bitterness, hate, and death enters the human story and infects the human race. But then Jesus enters the scene.
Jesus is the reason we believe. He performed many miracles, including turning water into wine, raising Lazarus from the dead, walking on water, and feeding 5,000 people with just a little boy's Lunchable. Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies and predicted His own death and resurrection, paying for the sins of the world. Jesus appeared to His disciples even after His resurrection, and some STILL doubted. "When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!" (Matthew 28:17).
Doubt. At some point in our spiritual journey, we have all doubted. But doubt is not the enemy of faith. Doubt is often an invitation to a deeper faith. Fredrick Buchner said, "Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving." Your doubts can actually keep your faith alive, searching and going after Jesus.
But why do we doubt?
1 - Questions we can't answer. Many people have left the faith, not because of what the Bible teaches, but because of what they're told the Bible teaches. The Bible is a complex book, and it can be challenging to understand some of the things it teaches. Some common questions include: Why do bad things happen to good people? Does the Bible condone slavery? Why is there so much suffering in the world? The good news is, there are answers to all of the questions we have. It's okay to have questions and doubts; it's a natural part of our faith journey, but we need to explore the Bible ourselves and see what it actually says.
2 - Situations that seem unfair. It's natural to question where God is during difficult times, but we have to remember that He is always with us. We may wonder why God allows certain things to happen, such as illness, accidents, or natural disasters. We may feel angry or hurt and struggle to reconcile these feelings with our faith. We don't always understand why bad things happen to good people, but we have to trust that God has a plan for us.
3 - Hurt we can't resolve. It's okay to be angry, hurt or doubting. Sometimes, we experience pain, trauma, or hurt within our church or Christian community, and this can make us question our faith. We may feel let down or betrayed by those who are supposed to represent Jesus, and this can be difficult to overcome. Jesus understands our pain, and He wants to be with us through our struggles.
In Matthew 14:22-33 is the story of Jesus walking on water and it’s a powerful example of how God can work in our doubts and struggles. When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, they were terrified and thought he was a ghost. But Jesus spoke to them and told them not to be afraid. Peter, who was always quick to act, asked Jesus to let him come out on the water too. Jesus granted his request, and for a moment, Peter was able to walk on the water. But when he saw the wind and the waves, he became afraid and began to sink. Jesus reached out and caught him, saying, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"
This story illustrates that doubt is not the enemy of faith, but rather an invitation to a deeper faith. Peter's doubt caused him to sink, but it also led him to cry out to Jesus for help. Jesus was there to catch him and lift him up, even in his moment of weakness. In the same way, when we experience doubt or struggle with our faith, we can turn to Jesus for help and support. Remember, Jesus walks on water, and He wants us to have the courage to step out of our comfort zone and trust Him.
Doubt can be a difficult and painful experience, but it can also be an opportunity for growth and transformation. When we wrestle with difficult questions or experiences, we are forced to confront our beliefs and assumptions, and we may come to a deeper understanding of God and his love for us.
So if you are struggling with doubt or uncertainty in your faith, know that you are not alone. It's okay to have questions and doubts, and it's okay to struggle with pain and hurt. Jesus is there for you, even in your moment of weakness, and he can help you find a way forward. As the writer of Hebrews says, "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).
Doubt is a natural part of the human experience, and it's something that many people struggle with in their faith. Doubt is not the enemy of faith; rather, it can be an invitation to a deeper faith. When we experience doubt, it's important to remember that we are not alone and that Jesus is there to help us through it. By seeking answers to our questions, processing our hurt and pain, and leaning on the support of others, we can find a path forward and grow in our faith. As the apostle Paul wrote, "We walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). So don’t let doubt be a dead end. Let us embrace our doubts and struggles, and trust in God's unfailing love and grace.