Help… I have a doubt about God!
Six ways to deal with those nagging questions about your faith.
Doubt. It’s like going to bed and waking up on a chunk of wood in the middle of the ocean. One minute you know stuff, and the next you ... um ... you’re not sure...
When doubt happens, we can worry that our entire world is going to come crashing down around our ears. But is that true?
Doubt happens to everyone - especially about things we can’t see. Do my parents love me? Is God there? Am I a nice person? What if I fail? Doubt itself isn’t wrong, but how we deal with it matters.
1. Go back to the source
Sometimes doubt hits us from nowhere, but sometimes there are other causes: people we look up to, events that hurt, places that make us feel bleurgh. Ask yourself: If I found the answer to my intellectual question, will that help, or is there a relationship issue that’s bugging me more?
2. Acknowledge that you’re not a robot
Doubt is a little reminder that we’re human. We don’t know everything there is to know about everything - even though you can shop, find info on Google or talk to your friends 24/7! Doubts are a little reminder that we’re not robots.
3. Seek answers
Doubt can stress us out so much we freeze like those goats who fall down (look it up). “IT’S A SCARY DOUBT! AHHH!” *thud*
The best remedy is not to run away and distract yourself with another meme. The best way to deal with doubt is to ask the questions. Talk.
4. Evaluate the evidence
Not all evidence is created equal. I made some dumb decisions when I listened to friends just because they always started conversations with, “Did you know that...?” or “I know, I heard it on the internet.”
5. Embrace the uncertainty
When we’ve asked the questions and looked at the evidence, sometimes we still don’t get the HD-quality answer we want. There were times when I wanted something like this shoved under my door:
Dear loved one,
I know you’ve got questions, so here’s the answer to everything you might ever want to ask:
(Insert perfect answers here. With pictures.)
But part of being human is knowing that we won’t always have exact answers. It’s a good skill to be able to say, “I don’t know everything. And that’s ok.”
6. Let your faith grow
A plant doesn’t grow when you take it away from the soil, water and nutrients it needs. In the same way, your faith in God won’t grow if you stay away from what feeds it: God’s message to you in the Bible, conversations with God in prayer, other followers of God who can encourage you at youth group and church.
Sometimes we have to take that step to trust in someone other than ourselves. God is bigger than us. He knows. Elisabeth Eliot once said, “Faith doesn’t eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.”