“Doubt is Faith’s ugly stepsister.”
Have you ever doubted God’s existence? What about doubting whether or not God even cares about us insignificant, violent speck of a species down here?
I would love to start coining the phrase “Doubt is the ugly stepsister to Faith” and put a trademark on it. The only problem? I want to qualify this statement and thus render it less catchy. If only this would be as memorable:
Doubt is Faith’s frequently non-photogenic, misunderstood sister.
I truly believe that doubt is essential to having a deep, meaningful faith in Christ. Doubt has served me well as a Christ follower over the years. I remember when someone posed questions that got me to wonder about God’s existence for the first time. During my senior year, my friend Jack Justus and I were sitting on the gym bleachers when he rocked my newfound faith. His question was pretty simple, but it really threw me for a loop.
“Why do you believe in God? You can’t see him, hear him, touch him. How can you believe in something like that?”
I sat there with my mouth slightly ajar. I know I responded with something, and although I don’t remember what I said, I am convinced it was pretty weak. That conversation has been forever imprinted on my soul. I began to dig into reasons why I believe, much like we are instructed to do in 1 Peter 3:15. Today, I would love to catch up with Jack and have tons of conversations about this whole God thing. In fact, now it’s one of the things I enjoy talking about with students involved in our youth ministry who bring them up. While I still have some doubts that I don’t think will ever leave, there is too much that points to God’s personal involvement in our world, as revealed through Jesus.Doubt gets a bad rap. If we were to compare faith and doubt to art, then most people would call Doubt the stick figure drawings in the world of art. For the sake of argument, I believe that there is a place for stick figures. If you don’t believe me, compare this Brian Swanson original to one of my favorite van Gogh’s. It’s pretty obvious how much more amazing art can be when it’s compared to something quite uninformed in technique–not to mention talent. Doubts gives life to a vibrant faith because they can exist in a beautiful partnership. As you wrestle through doubts, if you are honest, I believe that you can come to a stronger faith.
One of my strongest doubts resides in God’s existence before creation. How can God have always existed before creation? What was God up to? Did the members of the Trinity kick it old school? If creation came out of nothing, then what was reality? I understand the concept of “forever,” as in “being in God’s presence in Heaven forever once we die,” because of my high school English class. That classroom clock went backwards! So, I have a hard time believing in God’s infinite existence before the creation of the universe. I even understand that time is one of God’s creation, but this never helps because even that statement renders my brain into bubbly goo.
So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
One of the many things I love about Jesus is how He seems to take doubting God in stride. Thomas is one of Jesus’ closest followers, as one of the 12 disciples, and even he doubted in Jesus before seeing the physical evidence of The Resurrection. Jesus had every opportunity to chastise Thomas, skewer him, and hang him out to dry–but He didn’t.
Want to know what answers my doubts, singlehandedly, every time? The eyewitnesses who saw Jesus after The Resurrection, told the nations about this miracle of miracles, and then willingly died gruesome deaths because of this world changing message.
That is what my faith brings to the dialogue to doubt: the witness of over 500 people who saw The Risen Christ and were willing to die for their faith. It doesn’t mean that I never doubt or that I have all the answers I’m looking for. But it does feed my faith, time and time again. A lot of other things help bolster my faith, but the eyewitness thing is what I come back to the most often.
What are some doubts that you wrestle with constantly? I would love to dialogue in person or even do a series of posts engaging them.