THE TENSION BETWEEN DOUBT AND FAITH

I’ve come to think that it is impossible to have faith without doubt. What could I possibly mean by that? The Bible is clear that we are to have faith and NOT doubt. When doubts arise, and if we are human beings then they will, verses pop into our minds, such as James 1:6, But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” When we remember these exhortations, we feel ashamed that our faith isn’t stronger.

However, doubt is a natural part of the human experience. Is there really condemnation in that? And if there is, is there a contradiction somewhere? 

Let’s look more closely at everyone’s favorite verse on faith, Hebrews 11:1:

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

That last line is especially key to the tension with faith and doubt. As human beings, our immediate experience of the world is material. On top of that, our culture is driven by a materialistic, scientific view. I am stating the obvious here, but we do not see or touch or smell God or His workings in the world. It is impossible to go from not seeing something to immediately believing that it is there. As Kieerkegard said, a “leap of faith” is required.
Where do we get the faith required, though? How do we not stay in prolonged places of doubt? St. Augustine argued that we don’t have to pep talk ourselves into a place of faith, but that God Himself gives it to us. As Pastor Lauren said this past Sunday, by the simple act of turning to Him, He meets us right there. He carries us to a place of faith. HIS FAITHFULNESS ENABLES OUR OBEDIENCE TO NOT DOUBT. The pressure is off. For those of us who struggle with doubt, we can cast this burden on Him. We do not have to beat ourselves up for not having enough faith. And when we do turn to Him, it’s beautiful to find that we suddenly have what it takes to make the leap.

1 Comment

  1. Paul Kroger on February 9, 2024 at 8:13 am

    Genni, thanks so much for giving us an accurate perspective on the “normal Christian life” as it pertains to doubt and faith!

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