The glorious gift of doubt

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SPIRITUALITY

Why is the Bible, a book of God’s truth, full of characters who doubt God?

Adam, Eve, Noah – and many, many others – second-guess, mistrust, question, laugh at, rail against or just plain doubt some aspect of God, his glory, his faithfulness, his plan or his love.

This is an important perspective to have when doubts creep into our own faith.

These Bible characters survived their doubts and eventually – granted, some later than sooner – came to understand the trustworthiness of God and the glory that is rightly his. Their doubts tested God, and the Bible shows us God always proves faithful to his own truth.

This is a key point, that our faith in God must be based on acceptance it is God’s truth that counts, not on the human fact of our own desires and comforts. God created mankind in his image, but we are not God. Christ Jesus, God’s son, came to restore our relationship with God, not to make us God. The Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth, irrespective of our own preferences.

There is a God, and he is not us.

As Christians, we should give ourselves a break and not sweat a little doubt now and then.  Doubt does not equal sin; doubt is part of the reasonable, faith-building equation of questions and dialogue, of investigation and learning, of familiarity and relationship. James 1:6 says “Believe and do not doubt,” but this is in the context of our doubts, trials and temptations leading us to God for answers, and that’s a good thing.

Sins are things that separate us from God and things that denigrate God’s will. Faith, rest and peace in God mean that when our doubts do arise, we have faith – we trust – that God wants to help us understand his glory. Any father loves to have his children trust him and ask him questions. Our father in heaven is no different, and he is strong enough and wise enough to handle the tough ones.

Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith if it makes us engage, learn and understand. That kind of doubt is a gift, maybe because God craves a relationship with us and it gives us a reason to communicate. And for reasons – God’s reasons – I still don’t understand, God’s eternal glory is somehow tied to our faith in him.

I don’t doubt that is the truth, even when I can’t imagine why.

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