Church Views · On Being Christian

questions of faith

A few weeks ago I was really struggling with where I am in this uncertain season of life. I wrote a post called “I go back and forth” that detailed how my personal fears had seeped into questions about my faith.

I was flooded with comments, Facebook messages, and emails. All were encouraging. Most shared about the times others had wrestled with the exact same doubts.

I can’t tell you what a relief it was to simply be assured that what I was feeling was normal. And that empathetic encouragement was just enough to keep me going.

A couple of insightful blog posts also helped. Randy Elrod described his spiritual experience to a reporter as a “questioning faith.” He received “quite a few concerned and well-meaning questions about my ‘questioning.'” Why are we uncomfortable with questions?

Pete Wilson, a pastor at Cross Point Church in Nashville, wrote an article for Relevant Magazine titled Where is God When Things Fall Apart? He says:

“It makes me feel petty and immature, but it’s true—I questioned if God was with me. I think most of us tend to base our plans, dreams and desires on our concept of God’s presence. Then, when things don’t turn out the way we planned, we assume God’s just not there anymore…

Psychologists describe it as ‘languishing.’ It’s not depression or anxiety, but rather a failure to thrive—a loss of hope and meaning. I know those feelings. And I’m hardly alone. It’s a common experience in today’s culture.”

So I have to ask: In my experience, these “languishing” times of dark doubts and questions, a “common experience in today’s culture,” are rarely – if ever – frankly addressed by the Church in more than a simplistic way. Are we afraid to acknowledge that believers question their faith? Do leaders fear losing esteem by admitting they’ve questioned at some point? Clearly, a time of languishing is when someone especially needs the understanding and encouragement of Christ’s Body.

In Romans 15-16 Paul gives lots of instructions about how believers should behave towards each other. The Message makes it clear: “Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?'”

2 thoughts on “questions of faith

  1. Faith is a complete mystery. When I didn’t have it, I didn’t know I didn’t have it. Now that I’ve got it, I can’t forget it. For me, personally, faith is complete acceptance that the only thing I need from God is His will be done. I oftentimes think I have it easy because I’m not faced with things that are testing my faith. Great loss, for example. Though when I came around to faith, it was through an epiphany (sobriety) and my faith was tested plenty. But there was definitely a moment when it all clicked – and despite all the bad things happening in my life, and all the circumstances I was up against, I finally and sincerely gave up my will to God. When that happened it was as if I knew that no matter what – everything was going to work out just the way it’s supposed to. Regardless of what I think should happen. Of course over the past couple decades since my epiphany, I’ve had moments when my faith has been tested, but never enough to make me give up completely. In fact, in the darkest times I always know it’s me that’s giving up on God. Not the other way around.

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  2. Psalm 31:22. Did you ever have a moment as a little child when you got separated from your parents in a crowd? That verse reminds me of that. But He is there…

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