A Message for Doubters

A Message for Doubters December 27, 2023

A Doubters Questions

“Do you feel the world is broken? Do you feel the shadows deepen? Is all creation groaning? Does the Father truly love us?”

These are Lyrics to the Song “Is Anyone Worthy” by Andrew Peterson and Ben Shive. Of Course, if you are familiar with the song, you know that they are the questions that open up each of the verses.  These questions always hit me when I can worship with this song because they are incredibly honest. And even if they are leading to a sure answer, it helps to know that we can approach the throne of God with honest questions that sometimes make us wince.

Maybe you’ve been there.

For you, maybe the Year of 2023 was a year of questions and doubts. Maybe this past year you saw parts of your faith that you held so dear crumble to the ground. Maybe you wanted this to happen (for those who are deconstructing, this is common), yet for those of you who are truly struggling. For those of you who are trying to hold on but don’t know where to go, I want to offer some encouragement headed into 2024.

 

Jesus is Unafraid of Doubt

I want you to know that your doubts may be well-placed. Traumatic events,  loss, the existence of evil in the world, pandemics, disease, strange arguments from non-believers, other faiths that sound more appealing; all of these things and many more may be reasons that your faith is unraveling. You have so many questions and do not know where to turn. It truly can be overwhelming.

Maybe you know this, but in case you do not, the original 12 had many doubts. And they asked many questions throughout Jesus’ ministry. They were genuine questions that sought the truth of who Jesus was and what Jesus was teaching. In other words, these followers of Jesus were willing to reframe their thinking around the truth of who Jesus was even if it led to discomfort. They were not deconstructing. The disciples were reforming. They were forming their beliefs around the answers of Jesus. That’s an important distinction.

 

Are You Familiar with Thomas?

Thomas gets a bad rap about being a doubter. The moniker “Doubting Thomas” Is applied to people who are always questioning the decisions of others. Yet, I always thought this was unfair. Thomas asked and requested from a position of humble curiosity instead of prideful arrogance. Thomas sought Truth regardless of the implications and regardless of the unsavoryness of the answer. And that is what we can appreciate of him.

Take for instance his interaction with Jesus and the other disciples in the upper room. Jesus had died on the cross, was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, and then was seen alive by Peter, the women, and the rest of the disciples… except Thomas!

I would imagine that I would feel left out. I would feel as though some cruel tricks were being played on me. Yet instead of running away from Jesus and the Church, He ran towards it. He said:

“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands

and put my finger where the nails were,

and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” – John 20: 25b

Perhaps this is a fair desire. Everyone else was able to see Jesus alive and well. Why couldn’t Thomas? Of course notice. He is honest with his friends who saw Jesus. He was honest with his doubts and simply wanted the opportunity to do the same thing that everyone else did: See Jesus risen with the holes in His hands as evidence that it was the same guy.

The response of Jesus is important. When Jesus appears to him he not only offers his hands, but he offers the hole in His side as well. Jesus went above and beyond to answer the request of Thomas. And now Thomas’ interaction serves as evidence for us of Jesus being risen from the dead!

 

Where Do We Go From Here?

If you are earnestly seeking I want to encourage you with these things:

  1. Seek to Reform Not Deconstruct

Reforming seeks to mold our lives, feelings, and thoughts around the Scriptures. It is honest questioning that pushes us towards the Jesus of Scripture and the God of the Bible no matter how uncomfortable it makes us. Deconstruction sees hard things in the Bible (the conquest of Canaan, the Menstrual Laws of the Old Covenant, the teachings of Hell, LGBTQ+ issues) and shies away. Reformation pushes us to open-mindedness and allows us to seek an understanding of these things through the lens of their authors and then apply them to our worldview. Reformation leads us into the light and out of the darkness even if its uncomfortable.

      2. Don’t Walk Alone

The worst thing you can do is walk alone with your doubts. Doubts should be shared aloud. If someone were to ask me what type of church to join, 2nd on the list is that the pastors and shepherds of the community allow you to ask questions and wrestle with your doubts openly with them. Seek a community of believers who are open to your questions and who are honest when they don’t know the answer.

      3. Be Open to NOT Having a Satisfying Answer

Why does God allow Evil? How can trust the Old Testament? What are the views of Hell within Orthodoxy and why? All of these are good and important questions. And they are all questions that I do believe have solid answers to them. Yet, to seek an answer that is Satisfying is to reach into the realm of subjectivity to in order reach an objective conclusion. It’s like taking scuba gear to go skydiving. It simply will not work.

Here’s what I suggest. Look at the evidence for what it is and separate your emotions from it the best you can. Let your mind guide your emotions as you look at the evidence and arguments presented.

You may have an answer that is unsatisfying but it can hold you over as you research more and more. This is also why you should not do this alone.

      4. Pray the Psalms

If you’ve read the Psalms, you have noticed that David and the other authors of the Psalms get incredibly honest with God. Do not get me wrong. They are humble and lean into trust, yet they recognize that God doesn’t necessarily what they want from Him all of the time. Take time to meditate on and think through and pray through the Psalms. You’ll find incredible honesty, the ability to be real with the Lord, the freedom to be genuine with your questions and doubts, and the ability to wrestle with your grievances as you put them at His feet.

 

My prayer is that you can find a relationship with the Lord that is true to God’s word, that knows and trusts Jesus’ words even when it’s difficult, and that knows, that even if the world is falling apart, that doesn’t mean that your faith has to.

 

I am praying for you on your journey and I pray that you find a community that is willing to help you along.

 

If you want to continue to follow along with The Thining Theist, go ahead and hit the subscribe button! Please leave any questions in the comment section below. I’ll do my best to respond to them!

Go to THIS LINK to reach my other articles.

 

 

 

 

"It seems that you are using chromosomal variations and are confusing them with different sexes, ..."

Identity Crisis: Male and Female He ..."
"It seems that you are using this article as a way to bring people to ..."

Identity Crisis: Made to Work (And ..."
"Why do Christians accept Paul (of Tarsus) word as "Gospel"? Why do Christians assume that ..."

Identity Crisis: Made to Work (And ..."
"I think people who aren’t educated on the matter shouldn’t speak on it.Before we discuss ..."

Identity Crisis: Male and Female He ..."

Browse Our Archives