When your faith has no room for doubt, then you are just left with—religion
The following is a excerpt from a post entitled “Why it’s good to doubt God”, it can be found in full here.
Sometimes things happen in our lives—it may be one big catastrophe or a line of smaller things that pile up—and you start having a lot of doubts. At first, when you have those disruptive thoughts, you try to push them to the side, hoping they’ll just go away, before God notices.
They don’t and he doesn’t.
So you feel your faith in God slipping away—and it is unsettling, disorienting, and frightening to watch that happen. You doubt that God cares, that he is listening; you doubt that he is even aware of who you are—that he even exists.
In such a state of doubt about God, you feel like there is clearly something very wrong with you.
“Maybe I’m not smart enough. Maybe I’m a faker. Maybe I haven’t memorized enough Bible verses. Maybe I need to go to church more often.”
Whatever it is, you’re doing something wrong. It’s all your fault.
And so we do the only thing we have been taught to do. We do everything in our power to get out of that state of doubt as quickly as we can. For some, if doubt persists, they live lives of quiet desperation, ashamed or afraid to speak up. Others simply walk away from their faith.
Surely, doubt is the enemy of faith, right?
To have faith means you don’t doubt, right?
Doubt is a spiritually destructive force that tears you away from God, right?
There is a benefit of doubt.
Doubt can do things spiritually that nothing else can do.
Sometimes we think of our faith as a castle—safe, comfortable, familiar. But what if God doesn’t want us to be comfortable and safe? What if comfortable and safe keep God at a distance?
Doubt tears down the castle walls to force us on a journey.
Doubting God is painful and frightening because we think we are leaving God behind, but we are only leaving behind the idea of God we like to surround ourselves with—the small God, the God we control, the God who agrees with us.
Doubt forces us to look at who we think God is.
If we’re honest, we all think we’ve God figured out pretty well. We read the Bible and maybe memorize some of it. We go to church a lot. Maybe even lead Bible studies or something.
We’re doing great, and God must certainly be impressed.
It is so very easy to slip into this idea that we have arrived—that we really think we’ve got all the answers and that we almost possess God.
We know what church he goes to, what Bible translation he reads, we know how he votes, we know what movies he watches and books he reads. We know the kinds of people he approves of.
God happens to like all the things we like. We feel like we can speak for God very easily.
All Christians who take their faith seriously sooner or later get caught up in that problem. We begin to think that God really is what we happen to think he is.
God is the face in the mirror…
You can read more from Peter Enns here.
There is a God we want and there is a God who is. They are not the same God… the turning point of our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is.
– Patrick Morley