Doubts that challenge experienced Christians.
When life’s circumstances threaten our faith.
Does faith remain as meaningful for us?
I recommend you read the introductory article in this small subsection of the website that deals with the subject of doubt.
It is ok to have doubts, no matter what our stage in faith or life might be. As I have said it is never uncommon for us to occasionally think that this is all just too incredible to be true!
Yet, as I also stated in that intro article, if we challenge doubts when they arise, then faith will continue to endure and grow. And look, I have found that to be absolutely true for myself.
Indeed it can even be useful to actively challenge our beliefs at times, to identify or pre-empt flaws that may ‘trip us’ at a later date. We can then subsequently eliminate them through research, practise and logical evaluation. No, I am personally not into that ‘blind faith’ stuff!
The risk of doubts damaging our faith is particularly applicable when we reach major stages in our lives and journeys of faith, e.g. adolescence, old age, serious emotional pain and chronic or life threatening illness.
2. DOUBT AFFECTS US ALL
It does not matter how long any of us have had our faith, doubts will still arise. God will always be invisible to us during this life after all. The initial response to doubt, from us, might be one of annoyance. That is, we thought we had it all together and now here comes some new question to challenge our views.
2.1 Act on our doubts
When it does happen, the experienced believer should know better than to shirk off the new doubt. That only allows it to fester in the unconscious mind, to periodically surface and undermine faith.
Doubts need to be analysed rationally, i.e. “why?” or “how?” I can say that by questioning my doubts has only ever led me towards a deeper understanding of God, and a closer relationship with him I must add. And I have had to accept some significant shifts in my thinking over the years I can assure you.
This website offers many articles that could assist you to overcome most sources of doubt. Please just look through the drop-downs in the Menu Bar above.
Also, when I am extremely vexed over a doubt I admit to praying for assistance in seeing why things appear to be as they are.
2.2 Don’t allow that relationship to fade
From my experience too, serious religious doubt more often strikes when I have, through selfishness, left God out of my life for a little too long. I think this happens to most of us at some time or other. When we turn our minds back to him again all manner of doubts flood our thoughts.
My own antidote is to just ‘fast forward’ my memories, revisiting past experiences of God engaging with me, and then reopen my mind to recognise him in my life again.
Obviously it is best to continually walk closely with the Lord, rather than allowing a gulf to grow between us. To my mind again, the more we involve ourselves with him, the more evidence of his presence will occur thereby regularly reassuring us. So, it is best to talk to him regularly, and to best live our lives as he guides us to do.
2.3 Don’t forget the Bible
Importantly, it is useful to keep our knowledge of God growing; maturing by regularly reading the Bible.
There are many publications available out there to assist us in understanding the Bible’s ‘big picture’ for us etc.
3. WHEN LIFE’S CIRCUMSTANCES CHANGE
From my own life’s evaluation, I consider that faith requires a serious re-examination at different stages of life. There is a real risk that serious doubts may occur as a result of challenges arising at these times.
For example, adolescents’ views and beliefs change as powers of reasoning, knowledge and social interactions grow.
Simple views of religion learnt from parents, Sunday School etc during earlier years may no longer support faith during the approach to adulthood. Additional learning and a new informed, more mature commitment to faith may be necessary.
As in my own case, during my adolescence, look for God’s leadings to assist you in that regard. And please check out the many articles on this website, that may be able to assist you.
3.2 Disability and old age
Those approaching old age, or those suffering from debilitating illness or injury, may also need to re-examine their faith to understand how it fits within a life where independence and so-called quality of life may have been lost.
Remember to keep in touch with the Lord; engaging with him. Also look out for offers of Christian ministry, to support you, from unexpected sources. God can orchestrate this kind of support for you. Please check out the article, “God during hard times.”
3.3 At times of loss or deep anguish
As an example here, losing a loved one can also challenge our faith. We often hear that question in our heads, “Why did he let this happen, if he is really there?” And I have personally been there and done that!
Sometimes even, people believe that God actually makes bad stuff happen. Like … God took our loved one from us. No, I think God just allows nature to take its course. Logically he cannot meddle around in reality, stopping every bad event from occurring.
Again no, I believe that God lets the dice roll. He is always there to help us pick up the pieces though (please see the article, “God during hard times”). The article, “Suffering and Evil” certainly examines related issues and God’s role within them.
3.4 Regularly attend church
Do not forget either that regular attendance at church, and as much involvement with its events and mission as possible, can make the ‘reality’ of Christianity very clear to us. Again I recommend you read the article, “God’s presence in the Church”.
Our contact with the Church assists each and every one of us to better make the ‘quantum leap’ of accepting Jesus (the Word) as genuinely alive and intimately connected with us, rather than just an identity existing within the Bible.
3.5 Keeping ‘the line open’
Continued communication with God is also essential, i.e. prayer. As Christians, it is not sufficient to just to ‘believe in God’. No, he wants us to have a personal and intimate relationship with him; to genuinely engage with him there.
And the rewards are there waiting for us. Again as Christians we must also commit ourselves to Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. Such a relationship really helps when the ‘chips are down’, be it when a life crisis occurs or when a serious doubt confronts us. We can ‘soldier on’ through God’s grace, as it were, until a state of emotional recovery etc occurs.
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