two extremes

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One extreme way of dealing with our doubts and disappointments in God is to pretend like we don’t struggle with them.  Many, many, many church people are on this extreme.  They think, “maybe I should just ignore my doubt and just say “I believe”.  But to disregard our spiritual struggle is to neglect that portion of ourselves that needs to be touched by God. Failing to face our doubts and disappointments will stall our faith.  Many, many church goers are at the same place spiritually that they were years and years ago… because they have not had the courage to deal honestly with their doubts and disappointments.  The failure to engage God with our struggles produces a stalled faith.

The other extreme way of dealing with doubt and disappointment in God is to become consumed with them to the point of disengagement with God.  Sometimes we can wallow in our them.  We can entertain our doubts; Host them.  Maybe we should throw dinner parties for them and spend time with them and coddle them?  Many, many people do… and it crushes their faith.  They begin to separate faith from their struggles- spending time with doubts on their own while casting God to the side.  People can spend tremendous amounts of religious energy sulking in doubts and disappointments, pessimizing about God, who seems to become more and more distant.  It’s like wrestling by yourself!  If we have a question about God or the way God is doing something, maybe we should entertain God in that conversation… instead of shutting him out!  Consuming ourselves in doubt and disappointment will wreck us.  The failure to engage God with our struggles produces a stalled faith.

4 Comments

  1. James, thanks for the questions. I’ve been giving some thought to them.
    First, I think there are many places within the “christian” community where an individual can NOT wrestle with doubt and disappointment. That absolutely stinks. Many Christians don’t feel free to engage with their doubts because they think that means they lack faith. But as I’ve said, I think true faith trusts God enough to engage him with our doubts. A Christian community SHOULD BE a place where anyone can wrestle with these things and receive reciprocal empathy and encouragement. It must be reciprocal, both with others and with God, for it to work though.
    Second, Biblical examples… hmmm… I think Romans 7 is a great one. Paul wrestles openly, right smack in the middle of the biggest theological apologetic argument in Scripture. Basically, he’s laying the groundwork for how our inner struggles are a part of God’s plan… and how we should be transparent.
    Simply put, everyone falls short of the glory of God (Rom 3). Why do we Christians ever try to pretend we don’t?

  2. How should the church respond to the one who is dealing with doubt and disappointment in God?
    Is it possible for an individual to wrestle with doubt and disappointment in God with-in the community / fellowship of the local church? What might this look like?
    Is there a Biblical example that the church might follow?

  3. Thanks for the note, Marj! Blessings to you and George!
    I’m feeling very freed in my faith… knowing that I should engage God with my questions and limitations. Faith isn’t a show… certainly not with God. Faith is seeking after God in the good and bad with our strength and weakness… trusting that he is who he says he is… even if we don’t see it.

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