Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
Hide not your face from me.
There was a time in my life when I questioned my faith. It wasn’t overt but rather it was a quiet doubt—more like, “Yeah, right” than, “There is no God and I hate him.” I just wasn’t so sure anymore, and skepticism grew like an older child with the Santa Claus mythology. Was someone putting me on about this Jesus character?
My doubt manifested in a dull emotional ache, like a mild cold of the soul. I wasn’t really aware of it. But I was certainly doubting the gospel, and it affected me. The hope I once clung to seemed to be fading.
Nearly all believers, if they are honest, have moments of doubt similar to mine. These moments could last a minute or a year. But while it may be common, but it’s also deadly serious. Doubt is the symptom of an unbelieving heart, and if left alone, doubt can strangle our faith.
So what do we do?
Believe with Your Heart and Soul and Yes—Your Mind
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)
The Christian faith is intellectually and philosophically viable. We do not drop our brains and follow Christ. No, following Jesus should be an engagement of the whole person: heart, soul, and mind.
When we have doubts, we should not run from the topic of apologetics—we should run to it. Engage your mind. If you have questions that bother you, seek the answers. Consider Proverbs 18:15:
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
If there is a headwind of intellectual doubt blowing against you, do not turn the other way. Lean forward to confront your doubts, be it philosophically, scientifically, or historically. Seek knowledge. Do not merely doubt your faith; doubt your doubts. Once your doubts have borne scrutiny, their weakness will be evident.
Proverbs, a book laden with wisdom, begins by setting one important ground rule: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). In seeking answers to our questions, we should do so in awe and reverence of God. Sit under the Word of God not as a critic but as an eager student.
Crinkly Pages of Eternal Power
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Oh, the power of Scripture. Whether you have doubts or your faith is as strong as ever, the Bible is a powerful treasure. It is an endless mine of wisdom and truth. What’s beautiful about Scripture is that the Spirit applies the Word to us personally, convicting us and comforting us as needed. Not a letter is wasted. Each divinely-inspired word is a hand-crafted gift from God.
Consider the comprehensiveness of Scripture. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul tells Timothy:
- The Bible is useful for teaching.
- The Bible is useful for reproof and correction.
- The Bible is useful for training in righteousness.
- The Bible is sufficient to make the Christian complete.
If you have doubts, search the Scriptures. Thumb through the crinkly pages of eternal truth. Read Proverbs and tell me the Bible isn’t wise. Read the Sermon on the Mount and see if you aren’t in love with the heart of Christ. Or, read Lamentations and see if your stomach doesn’t turn. Browse Song of Solomon and try not to blush.
The Bible is beautiful, true, and captivating. It is a supernatural document, as the Spirit of God helps to illuminate the truth within in an intimate and completely personal way as we read it. The entire Bible is about Jesus, from Genesis to Revelation.
So if you have doubts (or if you don’t), approach Scripture with reverence and respect. You may not understand every sentence, but if you read it your soul will be refreshed. You will be changed as you read the Bible, and it’s quite possible your doubts will melt in the light of the glory of God.
What is Faith Anyway?
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Learning to address our doubts is not mere intellectual ascent; it is strengthening of our hope. Yes, we must have conviction of things that we cannot see—and sometimes that can be hard. But if we can learn to deal with our doubts, we will forge our faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a result, we will be more convinced of our eternal hope.
Doubts do not signify a dying faith, and the mere fact that we have doubts should not cause us to despair. Times of doubt are in fact wonderful opportunities to learn more about God, and if that knowledge turns to worship, you could say doubt is more than worth it.
Our joy is tied up in our awe of God’s glory. And thus, if our doubts and questions—uncomfortable though they may be—cause us to trudge through tough times which eventually lead to deeper union with Christ, we can learn to engage with our doubts in eager expectation of future joy.
When I had my doubts, it felt like my soul was sick with a cold. But when, by God’s grace, I navigated through my time of doubt, it was like my soul was refreshed. I was not only well from the malaise; I was better than before.
Do not despair when you doubt. Lean into the Lord in eager expectation of a renewed and strengthened hope.