Being a Christian does not mean that you do not have doubts. In fact, the absence of doubts would eliminate the need for faith.
Of course, let me first clarify something about faith.
Faith is not belief in something contrary to the evidence. That may be the definition of “faith” in our culture but it certainly isn’t the faith talked about in the Bible.
Luke began his gospel by stating his meticulous interviewing of eyewitnesses and his desire to write an accurate historical account. He did extensive research on the life of Jesus so that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed (Luke 1:1-4).
Luke’s gospel and the Acts of the Apostles have been thoroughly tested archaeologically and historically with over eighty independent verifications of Luke’s accuracy in the Roman world. Sir William Ramsey, world-renowned archaeologist at Oxford University, stated:
Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy… this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.
And the apostle Paul emphatically said that if Jesus Christ did not historically, bodily rise from the dead, then the whole faith of Christianity is a sham and those who follow it are basically the most pitiful people in the world, believing a giant hoax and a grand illusion with no value (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).
So faith is not belief in fairy tales that make you feel better. That is called gullibility or stupidity.
Biblical faith is trust.
It is recognizing that at the end of the day, we all have to trust something…someone.
We can only know so much. Our reason can only take us so far. We are limited. We are easily deceived. We are not in control. At some point, we have to put our confidence…our trust…our faith somewhere outside of ourselves.
I have always been a person of curiosity. I am generally introverted, reflective, introspective. I think about everything…sometimes overly so. Getting this mind to rest can be a challenge.
When I was young, I had a sense of God’s existence but I didn’t know Who He was or what He wanted from me. I feared death. I feared non-existence. This whole “meaning of life” thing seemed pretty important…pretty overwhelming…pretty confusing.
When I trusted Christ at the age of 12, life started to make sense. I began to see the world in a new way. My life had purpose. It was part of a bigger story. But getting to know God can still be a challenge. The “eyes of faith” are hard to develop. After all, how do you relate to an invisible, transcendent, omnipotent, incomprehensible God?
I started to have doubts. Is God really real? Is He really there? How can you know for sure? Is there truly life after death?
Big questions. I can’t think of too many bigger ones to ask.
I became interested in reading about the Christian faith, exploring the Bible, studying Christian history and philosophy, learning about other religions, pursuing truth.
I came to three conclusions that answered my doubts.
I actually told these three conclusions to a young lady dying of cancer who asked me for re-assurance of her faith…at a time when what you believe is put to the test.
1. This world is too incredible to have gotten here by chance.
Look around. Really look around. Be amazed by the immensity, complexity, and beauty of the world around you. Consider the information packed in your DNA. Observe the amazing design of your body…the incomprehensible reality of your very consciousness. Realize that the world around you is essentially energy held in place by a power that no one can explain. You can attribute all of this to random chance if you want…but realize that that is a decision of faith and not science. Science cannot explain how absolutely nothing became the incredible world that you see. We can argue about the particulars but there is no doubt in my mind that the heavens declare the glory of God and the earth shows forth the work of His fingers (Psalm 19:1).
2. The Bible is too unique to simply be the word of men.
Whatever you think of it, there is still no more unique book in the world than the Bible. The most read book…the most translated book…the most influential book in history. Written by over forty different authors over more than one thousand years…three different original languages…and yet unified in its story. God creates the world and humanity. Humanity disobeys and falls into sin. The world descends into greater and greater chaos. God announces a plan of redemption…through a family, through a nation, through a Seed. A baby born into the world that He actually made. God visited humanity…as a human! Not to judge but to save. To die for our sin. To conquer death. To offer us new life. To redeem our bodies. To redeem the earth. What is lost in Genesis 3 is regained in Revelation 21. The story is complete…and we are part of it.
3. Jesus Christ is too extraordinary to be an ordinary man.
Again, whatever you think of Jesus Christ, He is still the most extraordinary man to walk this earth. Born in poverty…in an obscure town…to a subjugated people. He didn’t write a book…didn’t command an army…didn’t hold any political office or position. He died at the age of 33…executed as a criminal in the Roman empire. His only remaining disciples fled in cowardice…hid in fear. Until three days later when He rose again from the dead. The message preached over and over by His disciples was simple and direct…Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again bodily on the third day to demonstrate His power over sin and death. Christianity would have stopped in a heartbeat if someone could have found His body, proved the whole thing was a hoax. Instead the formerly cowardly disciples became a force to be reckoned with…willing to die for their eyewitness testimony of the resurrected Lord. And they literally changed the world…with a message that eventually reached me two thousand years later.
I can still have doubts. I still wrestle. I still struggle to understand the Bible…the sufferings of this world…the apparent absence of God in times of need…the “inner workings” of prayer…the overt failures and faults of those who claim to follow God…and how all this fits together in the chaotic craziness of this life.
But like Simon Peter, I come back to this simple declaration of faith:
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. (John 6:68-69)
Where else can you go? Who else can you trust? What else can you put your hope in?
What solution do you have for death?
Ultimately you have to put your faith somewhere.
As for me, I cast my lot with the Nazarene, the resurrected One, Jesus the Messiah.