Doubting God

I'm a skeptic.

Recently several of my friends started raving about a new cleaning cloth they found.  You don’t need any spray cleaner – just wipe down a dirty surface with this magical cloth and it’s sparkling clean and germ-free.  My initial response is – yeah, right.  Prove it.  I have tons of friends and acquaintances who are selling the *easiest* way to lose weight or the *softest* leggings ever or the *best* way to stay healthy this winter.  My head immediately shoots back with I don’t believe it.

These people are ready for questions.  For skeptics.  They have all the answers, and statistics, and facts.  They can prove it to you.  They welcome the questions.   But what about God?  What happens when we question God?  Are you listening?  Would you really allow this to happen?  Are you even real?  Does He get angry with us?  Does He roll His eyes at our tiny brains and fragile faith?

I grew up in a family of Christians.  They all believed in God and I did, too.  I am thankful for that foundation of truth, but when I began to take ownership of my faith, it didn’t go very smoothly.  I started to question little things when I was a teenager.  “Why do we believe this?”  “Where does the Bible talk about that?”  I remember asking my Sunday School teacher to explain a particular rule my church had – it didn’t make sense to me.  He tried to explain, but I still disagreed.  I was then told I needed to mature some and I’d understand.  In other words, “Stop asking questions.”

I took my first religion course in college, which was an overview of all major religions of the world.  And I realized – most of them make a lot of sense.  I love the way many other religions view humanity and our responsibility as humans to take care of each other.  They seem to really have it figured out.  Their followers are good people.  Yet they don’t believe in my God.  And I thought, “So why do I?”

I was hooked.  I took a lot of religion classes after that.  (So many that I inadvertently earned a minor in Religious Studies.)  I wanted to learn as much as I could about these other beliefs, and wondered if I could really be the one with the only “right” answer.  I opened my heart and mind to the possibility that maybe I didn’t have this whole God thing figured out.  All the while I was still talking to God - questioning Him, yes - but also trusting that He heard me and would answer my questions.  I had faith that He would hear me.

Because faith is not the opposite of doubt.  I think they go hand-in-hand.  Some of the most faith-filled people I’ve met also have the most questions at times.  By definition, to have faith means I have to admit that I don’t get all the answers.  I may never have hard proof.  But I trust anyway – even in the doubt. 

Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  In black and white the Bible tells me that I won’t see everything.  I won't know everything.  I can’t.  I couldn’t possibility comprehend every answer to every question, because, well, I’m not God.  But I trust Him anyway.  Because again and again He has proved to me that He is real.  And true.  And good.  He is love.

Do I still have doubts?  Absolutely.  Questions?  Tons.  I’m pretty sure that will never change.  But I’ve realized that as long as I keep leaning into God and taking those questions to Him, they aren’t a hindrance to my faith.  In fact, they’ve brought us even closer as I get to know Him more.  I think He welcomes my doubts and questions, and even if I don't get the answers I'm looking for, God teaches me more about His character through them.  

"I've realized that as long as I keep leaning into God and taking those questions to Him, they aren't a hindrance to my faith."

So I’ll embrace my doubts and not run from them or pretend they aren’t there.  I’ll remember that my goal isn’t knowing everything, it’s knowing God.