How would you like to be nicknamed for all of eternity as "the doubter"? Not just a doubter, but the doubter? One of Jesus' disciples became forever known as "Thomas, the doubter" because he said he would not believe Jesus was alive unless he saw the nail marks on his hands. As we discussed in #ec1dot05, many people question how Thomas could have believed in Jesus, walked with him for three years, and yet doubted the possibility of his resurrection. By asking this question, I wonder if we are leading people to believe that faith and doubt are mutually exclusive?
How Can I Believe?
A friend asked me recently how I can blindly believe in God and have faith that he will come through. I asked him if he had a friend he knew he could call up in the middle of the night and trust that they would be there. When he said yes, I asked how he was so confidant. He said it was because they had done it before, they had proven to be reliable in the past so he knew he could trust them in the future. I said it was the same way with God. Just like any other relationship, faith grows over time.
Believers Doubt And Doubters Believe
In that same conversation, I admitted that while I have been a believer since I was a child, that does not mean that I have always "believed". I have questioned several aspects of my faith, everything from the very existence of God, to some of the teachings I've heard in church, and even some of the scriptures. Personally, I've found that doubt or questioning my faith has actually strengthened it.
We also discussed how black and white religion has become and how many people think that to be a Christian you need to believe 100% of what is preached today and understand how it all works. I would like to respond to that by asking a question: have you ever flown on an airplane? If you have, did you wait to fly until you knew exactly how the plane worked? I have flown and I can you right now I have no idea how it stays in the air, I know that people smarter than me built it that way and I trust them, but I didn't have to know all the ins and outs of flight to step onto a plane. In the same respect, I still do not know all the ins and outs of Christianity, yet I still believe.
I Believe, Help My Unbelief!
Sean brought up one of my favorite scriptures: "I believe, Help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24). There are still things I struggle with and for years I kept a lot of these to myself because I was ashamed. I thought I was the only one who asked these questions. I thought that by doubting it meant I didn't trust God and that would make me a terrible Christian. I thought it was wrong to question anything. Until one day I talked with someone who I respected and looked up to and they confided in me that they had similar questions and struggles. We learned from one another and it only strengthened my faith. So while I still don't have all the answers, I still choose to believe, and I ask God to help me with my unbelief.
If you can relate, please share some of your doubts or even ways that God has proved himself to overcome your doubt.