I can’t stand those pictures on facebook that tell you to click ‘like’ if you like them. It’s ridiculous because surely if I like something on facebook, then it’s highly likely I’m going to click like. I understand of course that these pictures are created by people in advertising or people who may mistakenly believe that their self worth is defined by lots of people clicking like on their picture.
I can’t stand manipulative and controlling behaviour. Why do we feel like we need to tell people what to do? Why can’t we just let people be themselves? A friend of mine recently criticised some of the churches he had previously been involved him for not allowing him to ask questions. Yes, churches can be controlling too! I find it sad that some Christians are negative about people having questions and doubts when these things are surely a natural part of life. God has changed my life and following and trusting in him makes sense to me 99% of the time, but there are occasionally times when certain things happen and I wonder briefly if God is real or that these things cause me to be confused about how God appears to be at work.
The Bible has people in it who have questions and doubts. David and Jesus both pray ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ David believes that God has abandoned him and although Jesus knew that God hadn’t left him I believe that his statement is an example of pain and stress causing us to say things even when we know they aren’t true. (I can’t find anywhere in the Bible that talks about the whole father turned his face away thing that Christians often talk about regarding this statement). The psalms contain anguish and also instances of disappointment with and anger with God. On the road to Emmaus the two disciples express their disappointment that Jesus had died: ‘We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel’ they say. The risen Jesus who was walking with them doesn’t tell them off for doubting, instead he shows them a better way. He inspires them in their faith.
So next time you hear someone being told they shouldn’t doubt please have the courage to speak up. Lets choose to be like Jesus, loving one another despite our doubts and questions as we travel together on our journey of faith and may we also be willing to be honest about our faith and about how God is at work in our lives. The Psalms do contain disappointments but mostly they contain confidence in God and lots of examples of God’s goodness and this too is my experience of life, so let us inspire one another with good news stories of how we are experiencing and seeing God at work. When I doubt or have questions, I remember all that God has done and is doing and my perspective is changed.
A Father brought his son to Jesus to be healed and his prayer was ‘I believe, help my unbelief’ (Mark 9 v24). His prayer was answered despite his doubts.