Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership
Doubt: When Faith Floats AwayBy Evan Nehring
Faith rocks when it's settled in your heart and feeling good! But sometimes your world capsizes like a boat in the ocean, and your faith slowly floats away. The choice is yours: to let go or to hold on and conquer the dark depths of uncertainty.
My Season of DoubtAfter high school graduation, I moved to Brandon, Manitoba for the summer to work for my uncle’s glass company. I stayed in a great basement bedroom with family friends.
Maybe it was because I was away from home for the first time, but I began to deeply question the foundation of what I believed as a Christian kid. I had made a strong commitment to Jesus the year before at youth convention—also in Brandon—but now I started wondering if this spiritual connection I had made was based on irrational and intellectually flimsy underpinnings. I was terrified. For a couple of weeks I could hardly sleep at night with the fear that I would not go to heaven if my doubts were not resolved.
I had a Transformer Bible, with articles for young people about faith questions. I poured through that. I had a Josh McDowell book on Answers to Tough Questions Skeptics Ask about the Christian Faith. Cover to cover. There was a book about the modern day search in the mountains of Turkey for Noah’s ark. I analyzed all of it. Too bad there was no internet yet!
The Way OutWhile the searching for rational foundations was important for me, it wasn’t the final solution to my doubt. August brought youth camp at Manhattan Beach on Pelican Lake, Manitoba. I was just days away from leaving for North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. My road trip. I was praying at the tabernacle altar one night, alone, distraught. Maury Blair, the camp speaker, came over and tried to help me out.
“What’s going on, Evan?”
“I just can’t shake this doubt, Maury. I’m going to Bible college soon and I don’t even know if my faith in God is real.”
“Why are you going to Bible college?”
“Because God told me to go.”
“Are you sure he told you?”
“Yes, I’m absolutely sure in my heart that God wants me to go.” It was true. Through all of the doubt, I knew more surely than anything that I was supposed to be in Minneapolis that fall.
“Well,” Maury said, calculating, “then God must be real.”
Bam! In that very moment the full confidence of my faith flooded back into my heart. Twenty-six years later, it has never left.
Don't Stop Searching Until You Connect with God!I don’t regret or resent the season of doubt. It was vital for me to work through those doubts in order to have confidence as a Jesus follower for the rest of my life. No one else’s story is just like mine, but I've always encouraged people to search out the answers they need. God responds to honest seekers.
Intellectual understanding of Jesus and the Bible aren't enough to bring faith to our hearts, but it’s important for us to know that:
- Jesus was a historical figure.
- He lived a well-documented life.
- He was raised from the dead miraculously for our salvation.
Part of entering adulthood is wrestling with the question of faith. Is it stressful? Yes, it can be. Some people go through this same type of doubt and searching for years. You need to do whatever you need to do to resolve the core question of your spirituality.
The moment you let it go and stop seeking out the faith answers you need is like letting go of your life preserver in the middle of the ocean. You might be rescued. The life preserver might float back to you. But the ocean is pretty big.
Hold on. Seek. God will meet you.
It’s impossible to have core values until you have a core.
QuestionSo, what have been the big questions you've had to work through as a believer? Where did you find your answers? Still working through some stuff?
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