I once heard a coworker use this quote: “Only the truly faithful dare question their faith.” I have no idea who said it originally, but it’s an interesting idea. So often, I think people view Christianity as a religion of “if-then” statements, which seems to leave little room for doubt or questions. “You must believe this or…” “If you don’t believe this, then…”
Christianity, however, developed out of Judaism, a religion with a rich tradition of debating and struggling with theological questions and sometimes even wrestling with God Himself (Jacob)! The Psalms abound with the poetry of one experiencing life’s ups and downs, joys and struggles, each of which has a different affect on the mood of a Psalm. Talking it out (or singing, or writing) is the psalmist’s way of struggling with God and trying to understand what is going on around him.
I think that doubt is a very healthy way of strengthening faith. As my pastor pointed out, when Jesus appears to Thomas (yes, that famous archetype for doubters everywhere!), He does not chastise him or berate him for disbelieving. Rather, Christ shows him His wounds and tells Thomas to touch Him, thus giving him the very thing he needs to believe and cry out “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:29). Jesus meets Thomas where he is – He understands how impossible the resurrection seems. This gives me hope for those days when I’m running a little low in the faith department.
I believe that even in discussing our doubts and struggles with God through prayer, we are able to grow in our relationship with Him. Just as working through problems in other relationships can make them stronger, so talking about our doubts with God can strengthen our faith. This very honest dialog with God seems to me to be a rich way to spend time with the One who encourages us to “ask, seek and knock” (Luke 11:5-13).
© 2009. Annabelle Peake. All rights reserved.