Faith and doubt are not opposite’s, in fact they’re often part of the same journey. When we wrestle with doubts, not just our own but those of our friends, family and strangers we eventually come to a position of stronger faith well able to provide answers to the sceptics and at the same time having a deeper understanding of those who doubt.
In his book ‘The Reason for God’, pastor and author, Timothy Keller suggests we look at doubt in a radical new way, as such that we see doubt as normal and perhaps welcome our doubts as building block to a stronger foundation of faith: “A faith without some doubt is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenceless against either the experience of a tragedy or the probing questions of a smart sceptic”.
Keller implores believers to look for reasons behind their faith, failing to do so, he writes: “A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection”. Personally, my faith has been lukewarm for most of my adult life, up until I experienced the tragedy of losing my children, faith for me was something I had inherited, a set of beliefs that were passed on.
Amidst great pain and sorrow my faith did ‘collapse overnight’ I carried doubt and unbelief for at least two years and believed my doubts were an abomination to God. I was certain God would not heal me from depression so long as I was consumed with doubts about who He was and the promises in His word, doubt, I considered, was sin… isn’t it? Not according to Jesus.
Let me introduce you to my favourite disciple, Thomas, also known as ‘doubting Thomas’ his story resonates with many of us that have battled with reasoning, doubt and unbelief.
Now, Thomas, for whatever reason we do not know, was missing when Jesus first appeared, notice in the following verses the grace of Jesus as He was faithful to accommodate Thomas, even in his unbelief.
“ 24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 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.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”” John 24 -27 NKJV
In the end it was his doubt, his desire to know Jesus for himself, was what brought Thomas to his faith.
So we see here faith and doubt are not opposites, it is possible to have faith with doubt, to believe with unbelief. Faith and indifference are more opposite than faith and doubt. Doubt is often a key part of the journey of faith. It’s a detour, if you will, along the path of faith. I assure you when you find yourself taking a ‘doubt detour’you’re certainly not alone and most importantly you must know and believe it’s not an indication of you being a bad Christian or a disbeliever. God will bless and honour the very little faith you do have no matter how weak or how small.
January 17, 2013 at 3:54 pm
January 18, 2013 at 3:54 pm
Amen to you gorgeous x
January 18, 2013 at 7:32 am
What a beautiful way to express the humanity that is each one of us….
I would encourage all of us to keep believing, in spite of our doubts….
I would implore each one of us to also take our doubts and conquer them by pressing into the Lord each and every day and asking Him to immerse us in His presence, in the beautiful presence of Him as Holy Spirit….. for that is the place where our eyes and ears are opened to the truth and where our doubts disappear…
January 18, 2013 at 3:50 pm
Thankyou Jenny! You are such a blessing to me… very encouraging X
January 18, 2013 at 10:03 am
As a token of appreciation and support for your awesome contribution, I wanted to let you know that you were awarded your star for the Blog of the Year 2012 award. 🙂
January 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm
Aww thank you for my star… you are so sweet, I am BLESSED by your writing also x
January 18, 2013 at 5:43 pm
January 24, 2013 at 1:59 am
Oh!! These are words I went to yell to my entire generation. A very doubtful and unbelieving one! If only they would admit some of that doubt! I used to be someone who doubted God and held it all in. It wasn’t until I admitted it, researched it, and told God that I got over that huge hump of doubt in my like. This guy Keller knows what he is talking about. Alot of times people who have doubts wont get the answers they need and thus, getting them further from Christ all together, or walking away from him. I have to read, ‘The Reason for God’. It sounds like a great book! I’m buying it. 🙂
January 30, 2013 at 3:56 pm
Amen! Glad you enjoyed my blog… for many years I struggled with doubt & unbelief on top of this I carried condemnation Wow we have so much to learn. Bless ya x
January 28, 2013 at 2:22 pm
Thank you for sharing such a lovely, introspective post! Blessings to you:)
January 30, 2013 at 3:54 pm
Thank YOU! I am glad you enjoyed it… just being real – Bless you X
February 20, 2013 at 2:12 am
Great post!! Have you ever watched the Christian TV show, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist!”? We watch it on Wednesday evenings on Direct TV channel 378. Excellent thought provoking, Frank Turek’s program. He speaks so quickly however with so many interesting truths that I warned our adult education class to strap in and hang on!
I so enjoy your blog, thank you for speaking truth.
February 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm
Hmmm I will see if I can Google the show… I have heard Sid Roth mention it!