One of the biggest tragedies that we can hear about is people falling away from the faith. It’s a kind of reverse testimony where people fall out of love with God. I’m sure many of us have heard a story like this. A lot of the times it happens when people finish high school and enter the real world.
Maybe it is sparked by a friend that probes with fundamental questions about their beliefs. Maybe people dismiss God because of a painful tragedy. What all these stories have in common is that they start with seeds of doubt.
These seeds of doubt then go on to morph into a plant of unbelief.
Because of all these stories, I believe we internalise a mentality completely discrediting the usefulness of doubts. We think we shouldn’t have them, and if we do, we are doing something wrong. It’s not a shameful thing to have doubts. We should never hide them. There’s no need to panic.
All it means is that God wants to grow your foundation, so your faith will be even stronger. Even more rigid when dealing with spiritual attacks.
Doubts serve as the signposts of weakness in a foundation.
Nobody is wise enough to examine themselves internally and identify their own weaknesses. We need something objective. Rightly so, we follow a God who can peer into our hearts so perfectly, and lovingly point out our flaws.
Once we hear and obey we will notice that these doubts that once seemed petrifying, have now led us closer and deeper into our relationship with God.
In Tim Keller’s book, The Reason for God, he suggests a new way to look at doubt. He suggests “a faith without doubt is like a human body without any antibodies in it.” He suggests that people who don’t wrestle with objections will be left defenceless against smart sceptics or against tragedy.
So too the body, if without any antibodies, is left completely susceptible to disease.
Dealing with doubts, for some of us, can quite possibly be the most challenging thing we are going to go through. They hit us where it hurt. Even if we are scared and in pain, the best thing to do is to run towards the roar. I believe the people who fall away from God leave doubts unaddressed. We ought to chase them. Pursue them into the ground. Doubts beg for a dose of truth.
They plead to be addressed so they don’t transform into something ugly. When we do wrestle with our doubts we can have confidence that we will find truth. The truth is out there. In every layer of reality, however you cut it, God is evident. The deeper we dig, the more truth we find.
What the Bible tells us
Yes, doubts have a function, but yes, doubts are from the enemy. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” Genesis chapter 3, verse 1.
This is how the devil operated in the garden, and this is how he operates today. But I believe in a God who is so supreme and sovereign that he can use evil for his purposes. As illustrated several chapters later with the life of Joseph. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis chapter 50, verse 20.
Doubts have a function because our God is that powerful. He is so aggressively benevolent that he can create a function out of evil.
The good news is, that we can reach a point where no matter the degree of pain or suffering, nothing will topple our faith. No amount of tragedy will be able to forever undercut our belief that God is real, active and good. This type of foundation is out there. The truth is out there. Be diligent. Be prepared. Ready a defence against an imminent attack. Pursue your doubts to the ends of the earth.
Roden Meares is a student studying mental health. He enjoys playing basketball, reading comics and going to the gym. He has a passion for evangelising and helping others in their faith through writing.