Deal with doubts in faith
So we stand on the sure foundation of God’s trustworthy word and his divine Son. Now, when doubts arise about our faith, what practical things can we do?
Be prepared for your doubts. According to C. S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, doubt is something we must expect to happen to us. The stronger your faith, the more likely you will be subjected to attack by doubt. Doubt is part of Satan’s strategy for paralyzing and crippling your faith and preventing your use by God. The stronger your faith, the greater a threat you are to the enemy. So be prepared for doubts to come not because your faith is weak, but because it is strong.
Be realistic about your doubts. Our doubts and questions about God so often come from asking questions whose answers we cannot understand. We want to know more about the nature of God, or his eternal plan and why this crisis fits into it. But our minds are finite and fallen. We want to know more than we can comprehend. Augustine was right: “If you can comprehend it, it’s not God.”
And remember that faith is a relationship with God, and no relationship can be proven. You cannot prove to me that someone loves you. Absolute, scientific, logical proof for love, friendship, or faith does not exist. As Tennyson wrote, “nothing worth proving can be proven.”
So be realistic about your doubts. Do you question what you cannot humanly comprehend? Are you asking for proof which cannot exist?
Be honest about your doubts. The only doubt which does permanent damage is the one we won’t admit. Isaiah 1:18 in the original Hebrew records God’s invitation, “Come, let’s argue it out.” God knows your questions, your doubts, your struggles. Be honest about them with him.
Be biblical about your doubts. Judge what you don’t know by what you do: God’s word is true, and Jesus is his Son and our Savior. Find the help of God’s word and his Son for your doubt, your question, your problem. Ask a trusted Christian friend to study Scripture with you and pray for you. Don’t let the doubt linger and fester in your mind. Bring it into the light of God’s word, now.
My favorite prayer in the Bible is recorded in Mark 9:24. After a father pleads with Jesus to heal his demon-possessed boy, Jesus says, “Everything is possible for him who believes” (v. 23). And the father exclaims, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” You can pray that prayer today, and Jesus will hear you and help you.
Go to him for the salvation he can give your soul. He will pardon your failures and sins, give you a new start and joyous life, and bring you to heaven when you die. Go to him to start your faith, and to live your faith. Name your doubt, your confusion, your question today. Give it to him. And listen for his answers. Ask him to help your unbelief, and he will.
I studied and taught philosophy of religion at Southwestern Seminary and in other schools precisely because I believe that we need to love God with our minds. We need to ask our questions with honesty, and find the help that Scripture and Christ give us.
I closed every course I taught with a prayer I invite you to share with me now:
From cowardice, which shrinks from new truth,From laziness, that is content with half truth,From arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,O God of Truth, deliver.