Wouldn’t it be awesome if our faith was easy?
It would be even better though, if everything we were told to believe, we could believe without a doubt – take it on face value, ask no questions and live a perfect spiritual life. I suppose this is where the line is drawn. How can we expect to have no doubts in our faith when even some of the Biblical giants doubted theirs? They didn’t ask why. They asked how.
Abraham and his wife Sarah both couldn’t quite bring themselves to believe one promise God made to them: that they would give birth to a son in their old age.“Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” (Genesis 17:17)
Did King David have strong faith? Yes. Did he have doubts? Go read the Psalms and you tell me. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? (Psalm 22) “Why do You hide in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10) “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?” (Psalm 13). Of course he had doubts.
And Job? Job had extremely strong faith, but did he have doubts? Did he question God? Absolutely! Job 19 illustrates his doubt in God perfectly.
The point that is trying to be emphasised is that doubt, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. One of Jesus’ own disciples—someone who had spent years witnessing miracles, travelling with Christ, and learning at Jesus’ feet—famously doubted that his master had been raised from the dead after the point of the resurrection.
But does that doubt mean that faith is delusional? If we believe it is, then we also believe that Abraham, King David, Job and Thomas (among many more) were all delusional. And knowing that’s not the case, a clear distinction can be made between faith and delusion. Delusion is held without any doubt, faith, on the other hand, is held with some doubts or at least an understanding that others could have doubts.
Hebrews 11:1 “now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”
Doubt seems to be part of faith. If we never have any doubts, then maybe we are not being stretched in our faith as much as we should be. Let’s go back to our previous example of the great St. Thomas to better illustrate this point. After Christ’s resurrection He appeared to His disciples, minus Thomas, sat with them and spoke to them. When the others told Thomas about this he didn’t believe and was very explicit in professing his unbelief (John 20:24-25) . An important point needs to be made here, although Thomas had doubts about the resurrection, a part of him still hoped for Christ’s return. And it’s that hope that kept him with the others. That hope kept him from giving up on a faith built over so many years.
He was fast to come back and declare his faith in saying “my Lord, and my God” (John 20:28), to which Jesus replies “blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe”.
So how does Saint Thomas who had these doubts, turn it into a strength? How did he become confirmed in the faith? He held onto that hope! And it was that hope that allowed Thomas to endure to the end because if you give up, then you will not receive the things that you are striving for. And we’ll continue struggle with doubts for the rest of our life. But we have to stick with the Lord. Keep praying, fasting, make your weaknesses and struggles explicit. And as God guides you in life, He will reveal Himself completely to you, and you’ll see the Lord as Thomas saw Him. I believe Thomas’ not being present was no coincidence and that God provided this opportunity for a beautiful lesson. In His infinite patience, Jesus took the time to come back to Thomas and reassure him of life after death.
“Physics is powerless to explain its faith in the rational intelligibility of the universe for the simple reason that you cannot do any physics without believing in it in the first place”. -Professor John Pulkinghom, professor of physics at Cambridge University
So we believe in God, can this really be labelled delusional though? I mean the parallels to this and scientists believing in the existence of the Higgs boson (you can Google that one later) is pretty ironic. This particle has been talked about since the 1960s, yet no one had seen it or had been able to prove its existence. Only recently have scientists claimed to have found evidence to confirm the particles existence. That’s over 50 years going without physical proof. Given, many theists go a lot longer without evidence of their gods, but does that really matter if their religion serves a purpose? And just because no physical proofs has been found to confirm a belief, does that mean that belief gets trashed?
If you have faith the mountains are subject to you. The water is subject to you. There’s nothing that can stop you. So this isn’t just going to come easy. It’s going to take effort. And the way that you get it, is by having as many encounters touching Jesus as you can, and putting yourself face to face with Him. Satan is at war against Christ for the hearts of man. And if he needs to convince us, or rather, if he needs us to convince ourselves that faith in God is delusional, he will! If we go through trials or temptations that cause us to doubt God, we should cry out to Him. He is faithful. He will never leave nor forsake us!
SAYG ~ Youstina Youssif.