I Never Expected to Doubt
by Alisa Childers
“Oh Jesus! Jesus!”
My spirit sprung to prayer with catlike reflexes as I watched my 2-year-old daughter tumble down the 15-step staircase. I stood helpless as her little body hurled toward the hardwood floor.
She stood up without a scratch . . . but my soul didn’t.
In that moment, I was never more aware of the wound that had been festering for months.
The wound was doubt.
I had been experiencing doubt about God’s existence and the Christianity I had believed to be true my whole life. But until that moment, I didn’t realize how deeply that doubt had wrapped itself around my mind. To the casual observer, my daughter fell, I prayed, and she was okay. But for the first time in my life, I wasn’t so sure it was divine intervention. For the first time I felt foolish . . . for praying.
I felt silly for crying out to God in that desperate moment. It was terrifying to realize the faith that had once been my identity now seemed more like a child’s fairy tale than the explanation of reality.
For me, doubt was an entirely new concept. Growing up, I watched God’s power at work in people’s lives, in my life. I knew God was real. I knew Jesus died for my sins, was resurrected, and was coming again. I knew the Bible was his Word, and I couldn’t be convinced otherwise. I was active in youth group, went on mission trips, and emerged as a trusted leader among my peers. I was the kid who no one would have dreamed would doubt her faith. I was the kid no one worried about, the one who would be just fine.
But now, in my early 30s, I wasn’t fine. I had just spent four months enduring the skepticism and intellectual attack of an agnostic “pastor” who invited me to be a part of a study group at church. A pastor who won my respect and trust had dismantled my faith, one belief at a time…