Doubting God and His plan for your life?
Ever since I was about five years old and asked my parents, “Where did God come from?” asking questions has played an important role in my faith.
I think that’s the case for a lot of us.
And ever since my parents answered with the most spiritual sounding version of “I honestly don’t know” that they could come up with, uncertainty has been a big part of my faith, too.
By asking questions, we explore truth. Uncertainty is a reality that we all have to live with at times.
But doubting God is different. Doubt is what happens when we ask a question and the answer doesn’t satisfy us, clearly define an issue, or measure up to our expectations. Doubt makes a lot of us feel very uncomfortable.
It makes those of us who tend not to ask many hard questions want to change the subject or shrug our shoulders and concede, “I don’t know, but God does and that’s all that matters.”
And it makes others of us who really struggle under the weight of unanswered questions feel like bad Christians for not having enough faith.
Let’s stop pretending we have it all together.
Christian conversations often sound a lot like automated emails. We have pre-programmed “auto replies” that are triggered when certain things are said or certain questions are asked. We’ve all heard these auto replies before, I am sure.
Maybe you’ve even said them yourself:
- “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.”
- “You can do all things through Christ.”
- “You just have to trust Him. He knows what He’s doing.”
These well-meaning responses often communicate something very different than intended. They cause many of us to see Christianity as a religion full of people who always seem to trust God completely — and know just what to say in every single circumstance.
When we experience this enough, we begin to feel like something is very wrong with us when we struggle in terms of doubting God. So instead of being honest about it, we keep quiet.
People don’t need us to be strong. What people really need is for us to have the courage to be vulnerable about our struggles.
After all, we don’t want anyone to think we don’t trust God. We think no one else struggles with doubt as we do, so doubting God and His plan is even more difficult to reveal to others.
Ultimately, we are not honest about our doubts because we’re afraid of being judged. We’d rather look the part of a believer, even if that means pretending we have faith rather than being an honest believer with real questions.
We do this because we feel alone. We think we’re the only ones wrestling with doubt. But the truth is we’re not alone. We have doubt just like everyone else. We act like we have more faith than we really do just as everyone else does — and we refuse to be honest about it for fear of being judged just like everyone else.
But people don’t need us to be strong. What people really need is for us to have the courage to be vulnerable about our struggles. They need us to be honest Christians who are willing to take a risk and say, “I’m really struggling here. I don’t have an answer, and while I’m striving to trust God, it’s hard to hold on.”
God is a loving Father who wants us to trust Him with sincerity. He welcomes our questions and doubts.
Honesty breaks down others’ walls and helps them know that their struggles are normal. When we are honest about our struggles, other people feel the freedom to be honest, too. And when one person is vulnerable, others usually follow suit.
Honesty gives God more to work with for us.
We have to be honest with God, too — and doubting God sometimes is a crucial part of faith.
God certainly isn’t afraid of or offended by our questions. He isn’t an insecure dictator who wants obedience without questions. He is a loving Father who wants us to trust Him with sincerity. He welcomes our questions and doubts.
There was a man in the Bible who desperately needed a miracle from Jesus. When Jesus asked if the man really believed He could help, the man said, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts” (Mark 9:24).
It is honesty, not a “fake it ’til you make it” attitude, that can truly lead to peace.