Ask anyone who is wavering in their faith or has abandoned faith altogether, and you will find their doubt and disillusionment frequently has its roots in a disagreement with God. The reasons for disagreement with God are numerous and powerful enough to cut at the very roots of our faith if we allow them: Perhaps our worldview conflicts with God’s, because we are shaping our worldview from the values of the earthly kingdoms around us. Perhaps we have a sin that we desperately do not want to be sin. Often, we disagree about something that has happened in our lives - why did God allow us to suffer through that sickness/death/job loss? Even more often, we may disagree with God’s doctrinal truths - finding ourselves making up excuses to fellow acquaintances about God’s view on women in leadership, reality of Hell, and other equally “unpopular” Biblical topics.
Studying and wrestling with God’s word is a vital and necessary step to becoming more Christ-like. It is only through comparing ourselves to the “mirror” (James 1:23) of God’s word that we can allow ourselves to be purified by God’s “refining fire” (Malachi 3:2-3). When we come across challenging passages that swim against the popular current of our culture or cause us to honestly face our sins, we have several possible responses to God:
- We can be angry towards God like Jonah who wished to see Nineveh destroyed rather than redeemed.
- We can leave the faith completely saying, “This is a difficult statement, who can listen to it?" like the followers of Jesus after he declared himself the “bread of life" (John 6:60).
- Many believers simple “change” the word to suit their beliefs by watering it down or declaring certain parts as “outdated” or “culturally inapplicable” for our time.
But, God’s desire when we face doubts or trials is always to trust in His divine will. The scriptures are full of examples of God’s provision and desire to give us the most abundant life possible: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:16-17). With time, we begin to develop a trust that God has established his laws for our good - laws that transcend time and culture - laws that lead to salvation. “Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?” (Matt. 7: 9-10). And when we face trials and suffering, we can remember that we have a savior well acquainted with our grief who has suffered with us and for us (Isaiah 53:3).
To have questions and to desire deeper understanding of the scriptures and God’s will in your life is not a sin. Some of our deepest questions and disagreements, such as questions of suffering - may require a life-time of wrestling. So continue to wrestle with God - search the scriptures and allow God’s Holy words to shape your worldview and convict you of sin. And above all, hold fast to the Faith.
In Christian Love,