If you want to doubt…
“I want that!”
I had just been listening to a story of a time when the presence of God came in an undeniable way. It wasn’t conjured up or imagined. He was there.
“I want that! I mean, I’ve felt that before, but not like that. I want something like that!”
I tend to be a “thinker”, perhaps even an over-thinker, but since that term generally comes with some sort of negative connotation, let’s just stick with “thinker”. Thinking is good, and increasingly rare. Let’s be known as a people who think!
Ok, back from the rabbit trail…
I CAN think on my feet, but it’s most often when I go back to a conversation later on that I really come up with the interesting stuff. As I thought about the short conversation, I began to wonder how much I would need God to show up before I qualified my experience as “that”. How certain would I have to be? What would I need to experience? What would I need to see? What would I need to know or feel?
Now, I don’t think the desire to discover more of God than I’ve yet to see is wrong. In fact, I think it’s super great. I think the desire to know and experience more is rooted in the understanding that I haven’t arrived, that I, at just 31 years old, have not learned all there is to know about this unfathomable God I serve. I will gladly announce in humility that after 31 years of attending church, I still haven’t gotten this whole thing figured out. I think a much bigger problem would be if I had the audacity to say that I’ve gotten all of the learning I want of God. That would be a sad day.
No. I want more, because there’s more to be had.
However, while a part of what I was saying was rooted in simply wanting more, in another part was just a teeny, tiny seed of doubt. The idea that says, “Well, I know I’ve had some cool interactions that I’m almost positive were God, buuuut, maybe it was just really good music. Or maybe it was just a verse coming to mind randomly. Or maybe it was just coincidence. But if THAT happened, well then I’d really know it was God.”
But would I?
Here’s the thing, there’s always going to be a reason to doubt. If you’re looking for doubt, you’ll find it, every time. The people in Jesus’ day literally had the incarnate Son of God walking and talking and doing miracles in front of them for roughly 3 1/2 years… and still they doubted.
Doubt and/or faith is not about experience. While experience can be helpful, it’s not what seals the deal. A room full of people can experience the exact same set of circumstances and walk away with mixed reviews. If you want to doubt you’ll find a reason to. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that faith works in the same (though opposite) way. A person who believes will always believe. They will believe regardless of popular opinion, political correctness, or even seeming evidence to the contrary. You can’t convince someone they’re wrong if they fully believe they are right.
It’s not about evidence, it’s about which you choose to entertain: faith or doubt.
I have experienced God, undeniably. I don’t need anything else to prove that he exists, that he’s real, and that he’s involved in my daily life. Do I want more? ABSOLUTELY! But do I need more? No. No I don’t.
Ps. I want to encourage you in faith and root out areas of doubt in my own life. What’s very important to remember as you leave this post is that questions are not a sin. We all have areas of our life where doubts linger, because we’re human. God is perfect truth. If you are seeking truth, you WILL find God. If you’re seeking justification for your doubt, there’s a good chance you’ll find that too. The Bible says that everyone who seeks, finds. It’s like the company who funds their own research, they’re probably going to find what they’re looking for because they have a vested interest in things going their way.
God doesn’t need me to protect him, he’s perfectly capable of defending his own case. God’s not afraid of your questions. Ask away! If he doesn’t feel real to you ask him to make himself known! I love what Corrie Ten Boom says about this, “If you want to hear God’s voice clearly and are uncertain, then remain in his presence until he changes that uncertainty.”
Try it. Ask him, really asking, to make himself known to you. You won’t be disappointed.