Faith and Doubt
by Dena Jackson
How do you deal with your doubts about God and Christianity? Many of us have been taught to rebuke, bury, or pretend they’re not there. We know doubts dishonor God, so we suppress them and tout a cheery line of faith. When people ask us to answer the very questions that disturb us, we hastily encourage them to “just have faith!” We believe this is the way to glorify God.
But this may not be the best way to deal with our doubts. One of my favorite Bible stories is of a man who brings his demon-possessed boy to Jesus. The man says “if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us” (Mark 9). Jesus replies, “‘If you can?’”
Alarm bells were probably going off in the crowd surrounding Jesus. “He just said if!” That one word exposed this man’s doubts. “Quick, cover! Say, if you choose!”Jesus was clearly disappointed with this man’s doubt. Yet he does not banish the man from his presence until he could muster up faith, or at least hide his doubts. Rather, Jesus tells him that everything is possible for one who believes.
Here, Jesus reveals the true nature of the situation. This man, half doubting, half desperately hoping that Jesus can help him out, approaches Jesus and begs him to do what he can. Jesus tells the man that the question is not if He can heal the man’s son. There is no “if” about that. The question is whether the man knows Jesus can heal his son. The issue was not with Jesus. It was with the man…
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