by Hilary Ribons
Is doubt a low point in the journey of faith? Or, is it a very necessary part of spiritual growth? For hundreds of years, writers, theologians and philosophers have mulled over this question— and many believe that moments of doubt lead us to a greater understanding of our faith. Here are a few thoughts on how questioning can foster a deeper connection with God…
“I respect a God who not only allows us the freedom to feel doubt, but shows us through the Bible the words we can use when we do—words of lament and of anger. Nothing can happen to us that God cannot use.”
“I don’t think we can fully experience God without wrestling with our faith. The people who are grounded in their faith are the ones who are much more open to questioning. I don’t think God is worried about us losing our faith as we ask questions, as long as we ask those questions towards Him.”
“When we’re overcome with doubt, we contemplate the hard questions that we often avoid: Why is there evil? Why do righteous people suffer? Doubt pushes us in search of answers and leads us to return to prayer, to our community, to studying the Bible. It’s the fertile ground in which faith grows.”
“Whether your faith is that there is a God or that there is not a God, if you don’t have any doubts, you are either kidding yourself or asleep. Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.”
“Many people think of doubt as the opposite of faith.But Charles Spurgeon said that doubt was like a raised foot, poised either to move forward or to take a step back. We can never go forward in our walk with God without first picking up that foot. If you find yourself doubting, be willing to doubt in the direction of God. Doubt with faith, knowing that God is big enough for every doubt and every question that you have.”
“We face an unknown and unknowable future.That means that every single course of action we take, every commitment, has its underside of doubt. It’s the ability to acknowledge that doubt and yet say, ‘Nonetheless, I will take that risk.’ That is what faith is. Not the absence of doubt, but the ability to recognize doubt, live with it, and still take the risk of commitment.”
“Doubt is like nuclear energy. Not everyone needs it, and those who do often do because of tragic circumstances. Some people have a special spiritual strength, and have never doubted a day in their lives.Most people, though, hit a wall. So very often God’s grace manifests itself in the form of doubt that leads to spiritual growth.”
“Mystery is a lifeblood of intimacy—it keeps our relationship with God alive. Doubt gives you space to pursue the God you don’t understand. Can it lead us away from God, as with Adam and Eve? Yes. But can it also draw us closer to God, as with David? Yes.”
“Those who believe that they believe in God, but without any passion in their heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, without an element of despair even in their consolation, believe only in the God-Idea, not in God himself.”
“I tell people I don’t struggle with doubt—I enjoy it! Doubt is essential. It’s a testing tool that allows our faith to adapt to changing life and social conditions.”
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