I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12
By Pastor Vivian
Pastor Chris is teaching a Discipleship Course called Faith in the Shadows: Finding Christ in the Midst of Doubt. I thought about sitting in on this class; but for whatever reason, I did not.
Do you ever struggle with doubt? I do; not about God or God’s love for me and my love for God. But about how God works or will God work, I suppose I should say. I don’t talk about my doubts very much – y’all would question my faith. I feel that if you ever arrive at a place where all your doubts are gone and all your questions are answered, you can relax because you’re in heaven.
Jesus is a healer. The Scriptures say by his stripes (wounds) we are healed. So, we expect to be healed. God often does heal, but many times God does not. When people say to me, “How wonderful it is that your cancer is in remission.” The first thought that comes to my mind is God is so good. But I usually don’t say that because I feel that I am saying God is not good for those people whose cancer is not in remission. And I don’t believe that; I just don’t know how healing works. When I was a chaplain and was called to a hospital room because someone was actively dying, I would pray that God would heal as God saw fit…meaning that the healing may be on the other side.
Jesus is a provider, but for those who struggle with unemployment or homelessness it can be hard to be content with Jesus being with us holding our hands in the dark. I remember when I read The Shack, I was disappointed/baffled/wondered why the author thought this was an acceptable response from Jesus. I’m talking about the scene where Jesus is talking to the dad; explaining what happened to the daughter. Jesus says “She was very brave.” Brave? I would not find that comforting at all. Jesus you were there and you did nothing to save my daughter to stop this monster from killing her? Tell me she felt no pain. Tell me she knew nothing of what happened. Don’t tell me she was brave.
Even Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist doubted. When Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth when she was pregnant with Jesus, John “leaped for joy in his mother’s womb” because he had recognized Jesus. Yet he asked “Are you the one? Or shall we look for another?”
Many people think doubt is the opposite of faith, but it’s not. Unbelief is the opposite of faith because it is a willful refusal to believe.
Many people think doubt is unforgivable, but it’s not. God does not condemn us when we ask questions. God has very big shoulders and can handle all our doubts and questions.
Many people think struggling with God means we lack faith, but that’s not true. We would not struggle with an entity we didn’t believe existed. Struggling with God is a sure sign we have faith.
If you are a person who has never doubted or found it hard to believe then I take my hat off to you. I recognize that we are all wired differently. And if you struggle repeatedly, give yourself some grace. I suppose most of us fall somewhere in the middle. We are not all the same and our faith experiences are not the same; nor should they be.
And while I have doubts, at times, I can say with Paul in Romans 8, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I know whom I believe.
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