I’ve been having doubts and insecurities about my faith. I feel as if I need something more tangible, something I can see, touch and understand. And I don’t know anyone who has had these same feelings. How can I get rid of these doubts?
You are definitely not alone. Maybe you’re just more open and honest about your feelings than a lot of people you know. In fact, I would say that most Christ-followers have at one time or another struggled with doubts. I know sincere Christians who have been believers for years and still struggle.
Doubting your faith is not necessarily a bad thing, either. In fact, it can lead to spiritual growth and maturity. It can be a time when you move from your family’s faith to actually owning your beliefs in a deep and real way.
So don’t be too hard on yourself for having doubts. Still, I would encourage you to try to figure out where your doubts are coming from. As I understand it, there are usually two basic reasons people doubt:
1) Intellectual questions. In this case, people’s doubts come from questions about what’s true and what’s logical. People who have intellectual doubts often have questions like these: “Why should I believe the Bible is inspired by God?” “How is Christianity different from any other religions?” “Why isn’t evolution true?”
When I was younger, I had a difficult time understanding the con-cept of Christ’s resurrection. I took time to read, study and listen to experts on the topic. Today, I believe there are intellectual, historical and scientific reasons to believe that Jesus really did rise from the dead. The hours I spent studying and researching were well worth my time.
If you have intellectual doubts, I encourage you to search for answers. A great place to start would be the student editions of The Case for Faith and The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel with Jane Vogel (Zondervan). Written specifically for high school students, these two books are well researched and easy to understand.
2) Emotional questions. These questions often come from hurt or grief. The emotional doubter may actually ask questions that are similar to those asked by the intellectual doubter: “Why does God allow suffering?” “How could a loving God send someone to hell for not being a Christian?” “Why are people born with disabilities?” The difference is that emotional doubters are not easily satisfied with intellectual answers. Why? Because their problem is not intellectual. It’s usually about their wounded feelings.
Emotional doubters don’t need “answers” as much as they need God’s love and comfort. They often need a shoulder to cry on and someone to listen to them. If you are doubting because of hurt in your life, I’d encourage you to find a mature, caring Christian who is a good listener.
In fact, I’d encourage you to look for someone who can help you during this time of doubting—whatever the cause of your doubts may be. Is there a mature Christian in your life you can confide in? This would be the type of person who would take your questions seriously, and who wouldn’t belittle you or scold you because you’re questioning your faith. Again, I stress mature.