Question: How To Wrestle Doubts?



image kings-beloved asked:

Your last post inspired a question. How healthy is it to doubt and wrestle with things. And how do we get back to having faith like a child, the faith that God calls us to?


Great question.  In reference to that last post, there’s a big difference between people insulting you and people bringing up legitimate doubts. 

You can toss the insults.  Arguing online, especially on theology, is pointless.  No one ever reads the “opposing side” and changes their mind.  But it’s a good thing to struggle with doubts and questions.  I myself struggle with doubt pretty much every single day: and some days I’m barely hanging on.  But doubt is NOT some kind of atrocious sin.

Having “child-like faith” doesn’t mean we leave intellect at the door. Jesus actually said in Matthew 10:16 — I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.  He advises the balanced approach. 

So on apologetics, it’s helpful to know your stuff, if at the very least to defend against wolves.  There is a lot to say on the historical veracity of Christianity, and it has certainly satisfied the greatest minds of human history.  But no, apologetics will not erase your doubts nor can it necessarily strengthen your faith through the hard times.  Even when our intellectual doubts are answered, it doesn’t answer the why


A child-like faith also doesn’t mean we come “innocently” like good little kids who fall obediently in line.  Have you been near children?  Where two or more are gathered, so there is insane destruction. 

A child-like faith means we rely on God’s gracious provision as His dependent children for everything, through everything.  That means even in our foggiest confusion, we come to our Father knowing He will not crush us, condemn us, or cast us out.  He welcomes all questions.  Try telling a typical Christian you doubt and they will lecture you; try telling a typical atheist you doubt and they will showcase you; tell God those feelings and He will understand you.  He will also patiently challenge you to a deeper level, not just in what to think, but how.

Imagine you as a five year old child, sitting in your dad’s lap all confused about something, and you desperately want to untangle this problem in your head.  A good dad will not rush you, will not make you feel bad about it, will not scold you for it — but instead will patiently help you work through this fog, desiring that one moment of epiphany for you when the lights turn on. He even wants you to enjoy the time together.

A good dad wants you to wrestle with these things so you can flex that spiritual muscle to tackle bigger obstacles down the line.  And no matter how many times you go to Him, He’s ready to hear you out.  That’s having the faith of a child: that no matter how much you doubt, your faith depends on His nature and not your progress.  I’m sure I will struggle with doubt the rest of my life: but I go to my Father in Heaven, knowing He loves me all the way through it.


Also read:

– So I’m Not The Only One Who Struggles With Doubt

– How Are You An “Atheist Christian?” You Serve But Doubt He Exists?


— J.S.

8 thoughts on “Question: How To Wrestle Doubts?

  1. “Try telling a typical Christian you doubt and they will lecture you; try telling a typical atheist you doubt and they will showcase you; tell God those feelings and He will understand you.”

    Have experienced all of these. Not fun but thank goodness God understands me.

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  2. Thank you! I do sometimes have doubting thoughts that come to me & have felt “less than.” And although, I don’t always share those doubts with others, I haven’t really experienced recently “Try telling a typical Christian you doubt and they will lecture you.” However, I do get the “look” when it seems that they don’t really understand what I’m saying, whether it’s doubting who God is or doubting my own faith, etc……sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one around me that ever feels that way. Not a good feeling so I am strengthened today by your words!

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    1. In my limited knowledge, 1) James qualifies his statement in verse 5 by saying that God will give wisdom to anyone who generously asks, and 2) it appears in verse 6 that suddenly James is talking about a hypocritical doubt that is more systemic and cynical. It refers to a “double-minded” and “unstable” person, like he only prays to God at the last second to use Him or oppose Him, rather than satisfy his intellectual/spiritual questions. I could be wrong here, but verse 6 feels very different than the person in verse 5 who is sincerely seeking God amidst honest doubts.

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      1. Yeah. I think there’s a tension here. I think Jesus calls us to put our hands to the plow and not look back, but not to check our intellect at the door. I also think that faith is a gift from the Holy Spirit by which we cry Abba Father. I think a little doubt, like revolution, is healthy once in a while.

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