Tag Archive: doubt


Exploring God’s Word

Jer. 29.13

When I was a kid, I remember receiving a new Bible in Sunday school class. We promptly put paper dust covers on them for protection and learned how to look up a verse. I never, ever wrote in my Bible—I’m pretty sure that was a rule—a rule that was deeply ingrained in me. I know this because it was painful when a few years ago I decided it was time to start making notes and underlining verses in my Bible.

What’s taught to us is hard to overcome because I had to restrain myself when I watched my daughter highlight a page in her brand new Bible. I may have quietly hyperventilated, but I wasn’t going to squash her excitement. She was in her Bible, highlighting as she read—and she was reading more than a few verses. She read one book after another and told me why she chose each one, and which one was next.                                                                                                

She was exploring God’s word and sharing with me the verses that captured her attention. My heart swelled, and at the same time…I wish I had been like that at her age.

I wish I had been encouraged to read and ask questions, but I think times are different now.

There are more translations of the Bible, each speaking just a little differently to give new understanding of God’s word. More people are asking questions instead of taking a back seat in their faith. And there are good conversations happening, with people discussing what faith means in their lives. In these conversations, I feel better prepared and more eager to be involved when I’m focused on making my faith part of my everyday life.

I don’t want to stop at someone telling me what I should know. I want to see it for myself and go deeper. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe my pastors or doubt everything explained to me—it means I want more.

I need to know how God’s word is relevant in my life today, and having someone tell me that it is isn’t enough. I have to make that connection myself because that’s when it becomes real. And that’s what I can share with others—God’s work in my life.

I’m speaking for myself here, and not trying to say what you do or don’t do is wrong. This is me and my desire for more of Him.

But, I will encourage you…

If you want to ask questions—don’t be afraid to ask.

If you want to know more—keep looking.

If you want to go deeper into God’s word—keep reading. I’m constantly amazed at how He will give new meaning to verses I’ve heard all my life, but never quite understood what they meant for me.

And there is always more to explore…because we can never fully understand the depth of His love for us.

 

In Christ,
Laura
Laura Rath ~ Journey in Faith

 

Photo credit: Stock photo: Bible

 

 

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Week 5: I’ve Got Questions

unanswered-questions-300x210

I found this little graphic on a teaching website. “Questions are guaranteed in life; Answers aren’t.” I don’t know about you, but I am filled with questions. Questions about life, work, people, God, universe, and the list goes on and on. I’m naturally an inquisitive person and I love to think. But does every question have to have an answer? Even if I know the answer should I spoil the pursuit of knowledge for someone else?

I believe the institutional church has always tried to be the answer people. Think about 20 years ago, if someone had a question even vaguely associated to a spiritual issue they would go to the Pastor or other trained professional to get the question answered. Most of the time the question would be answered easily and then move along with the day. If the question couldn’t be answered, then the Pastor, Priest or whatever would usually say, “We have to take that one by faith.”

I know that God is mysterious and his depths cannot be completely discovered. There are many things that happen in the world today that can’t be explained by simple logic or explanation. But whenever anyone would answer me by saying, “We take that one by faith,” I interpreted that as, “I don’t have the answer and quit asking me questions about it.”

If you ask and ask and ask and every time get turned away with no discussion or thought put into it, you’ll stop asking those people. This is exactly what has happened with the church today. For the most part, no one comes asking questions anymore. Does that mean that questions are all answered? No! It just means that no one is asking those questions within the church context. Some people think the church doesn’t want questions or can’t answer questions or if I ask a question about faith you might think I lost mine. Does any of that sound familiar?

If you have questions know this, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

We need to create a culture of questions. A place that people feel open and free to ask and enter into discussion. What better place to discuss big issues of life than with the people of God.

When we start talking about questions, it raises the question of doubt. Is doubt sin? Is doubt bad? Tim Keller (The Reason for God) says this about doubt.

“A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it.”

In other words doubt will always be present in the life of believers. The real question is, what do we do with doubt?

Keller continues by saying,

“People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.”

When doubt is kept to yourself and allowed to build up within you, it can become very easy for your faith to topple over and even die.

So what can you do about this?

Be a person who questions. When doubt is lurking in your soul, don’t allow it to hide in the dark, shine the light of the Gospel on it. It will not stay in the dark very long. People of the church should be open to questions, not so that they can be answer people, but to explore with others their questions and to really hear and understand them. Don’t feel like you have to jump in all the time and answer, but allow them to come to the place where they can see it for themselves. Most importantly we need to be honest when we don’t know. This shows people we don’t have all the answers but we constantly try to pursue them and that we are real people that don’t have everything figured out. This is completely acceptable!

Let’s be a people of Question and Discussion not just a Question and Answer crowd. Not all questions have answers but they can lead to discussion and discussion can lead to relationship and relationship is the new currency.

How have you dealt with big questions in the past? How have you dealt with doubt?

Pastor Phil Robarge

Philip

Chapter 8: Judge Gideon

I admit it. Gideon is my favorite judge because he had no idea why God would come to him with major instructions.

Here was young Gideon, minding his own business, threshing the wheat as quickly as possible–before the oppressing Midianites could get it. (The Midianites and others would camp in the croplands and ruin the yield just as it ripened.) Gideon was just popping along when “The angel of the Lord” appeared and gave Gideon the news–“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Gideon must have thought, with his heart beating hard, “What warrior?”

Gideon was a faithful believer. He loved God, but he was also curious. “Pardon me, my lord, but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” The young man was certainly not sure that this call was not some vision brought on by fermented wheat! He was part of the weakest clan and he was the “least in my family.”

God, knowing that it was His wisdom and strength, not Gideon’s, that would win the day showed great patience with this loyal but doubtful youngster. Gideon did not doubt God, you see, he doubted himself.

After building an altar to God and some more discussion, Gideon set out on his task. Then Gideon again wondered if he was really doing what God wanted him to do, so he asked God to not cause the overnight dew to gather on a sheep’s fleece, “If you will save Israel by my hand.”  This is not a request for victory, but a question as to whether Gideon was really the guy to do the job. God did as Gideon asked. The young man was still too astounded to believe that God would really use him, and asked God to reverse the “fleece process” if you will allow that description. God did.

So Gideon was convinced that he was indeed chosen by God. Then God did something even more miraculous. Through a very logical process, He had Gideon whittle down his army from 32,000 to 300 men.

Why? Who would get the credit today if our nation was attacked and we repelled the enemy with 100,000 troops to the enemy’s 500 troops? We, of course, would take the credit for the victory. But, if God’s army won the battle by sending 300 against the enemies that “had settled in the valley, thick as locusts” who would be the obvious bringer of victory? God, and God alone.

God is a marvelous tactician. He divided the 300 into three groups of 100. In the middle of the night, they attacked, banging pots, yelling, and generally creating total confusion among their enemies. Under God’s leadership of the young and wondering judge, God had saved HIs people again.

The Bible indicates that Gideon did serve until his death, when the “Israelites did evil int he eyes of the Lord” again!

Sue Wilson

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