May 25, 2023
Today we're continuing our series on doubt. We're in part four of five.
A political science major at a major university was having coffee with a campus pastor. The pastor knew that the student was wrestling with doubt about the existence of God and said to him, “John, you know all of us wonder at some point if it's all real or not. For example, there are quite a few stories in the Bible that are just hard to believe. Jonah and the whale and all that.” John smiled and said, “No, that's not my problem. What I wonder about is how God could care about me. I've done some really bad things and have had some really bad things done to me. I just can't understand the concept of forgiveness.”
There you have it. Doubts about the faith come from all directions. While one person cannot bring herself to believe in miracles, another cannot forgive himself for the wrong things he's done, and can't fathom how God could.
Thomas Jefferson actually cut out the miraculous sections of the Bible. He couldn't believe in what some would call the God of the Bible. Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA, thought that Christianity was just a collection of mythical stories. And what about those who want to see the proof, they like evidence and feel a need to make an intellectual case for our faith.
The New Testament writer, Luke, was like that. He wrote in Acts and the Gospel of Luke about the importance of eyewitness sightings of Jesus and His miracles. Lots of people debate whether evolution and religion are compatible or not. And this is a big stumbling block to believe for many. We all believe something, but our minds can struggle at times to grasp the big stuff, the infinite universe. While for others who doubt, the struggle is more internal, they're so grieved by their own sin, they can't accept that God could love them.
Maybe the most famous verse in the Bible is John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” However, few quote the next verse which says, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” It isn't God's wish to condemn you. Instead, he loves you and wants to give you assurance that life is more than struggle and molecules.
Whether you're looking for evidence to believe the Bible or you just need to know that God loves you, try not to focus too much on your objections. Own them, but just tell God as a child would, that you're struggling to understand it all.
Will you pray with me?
Father, your grace saves us from a life of struggle with sin and we are accepted by you. Thank you for putting up with our up-and-down faith. In Jesus' name, amen.