Doubt is a Good Thing

Most people never admit that they deal with doubt. There seems to be this warped notion that if you admit – if you fess up to the fact that in your understanding of God there are questions, confusions, and things you just find tough to swallow – that you’re not really on the team. To be a Christian and to admit to questions is like being an oil and gas executive who loves Al Gore movies about Global Warming. There’s a conflict of interest. If you admit to doubt, your faith is somehow faulty or inferior. But I don't buy that. In dealing with my own doubts I've found the exact opposite to be true. I've found that faith and doubt are not enemies, but are essential partners in the life of faithfully following Christ.


Tim Keller offers a great analogy. He writes that a faith without some doubt is like a human body without antibodies. You probably paid enough attention in seventh grade science to remember that antibodies are the building blocks of our immune system. They react to bacteria and build our defenses, keeping us healthy.

Our doubts and questions do the same thing. People who go through life too busy to ask why they believe what they believe or who try to convince themselves that they’re “doubt free” find themselves in a dangerous state of having never built up a defense for what they believe. And as a result, later on when tragedy strikes or tough questions come, their convictions can easily crumble. It may seems contradictory, but believers should acknowledge and come face to face with their doubts. If done rightly--that is, with the truth of Scriptures speaking into them and the community of believers walking you through them--doubting God can often lead to a deeper trust in God.


One of my favorite stories in the Bible is of a father whose son is possessed by a demon. Tired of caring for his troubled son and with, I'm sure, hundreds of failed "cures" in his rearview mirror this man approaches Jesus with a heavy heart, mixed with equal parts expectation and skepticism. After wondering aloud if it's even worth his time to ask if Jesus might be able to finally heal his boy the man looks at Jesus and offers what I believe is the most honest prayer ever uttered. He said, "Lord I believe! Help me overcome my unbelief."

What do you think happened next? Did Jesus get personally offended and send the guy away? No. What did Jesus do? He healed the man's son. And, as a result, also quieted all of the father's questions.

When it comes to being a Christian the best thing to do with your doubts about Jesus is to admit them to Jesus, to yourself, and to others. When you do know that Christ won't reject you. He might just use it as an opportunity prove His power to you.