Are You Wrestling With Doubt?

Have you ever dealt with doubt? Doubting the faith? I have, occasionally still do. I couldn’t pin it down until I did Bible.com’s “Doubting Towards Faith” reading plan. I linked to it in the title. One of the days dealt with intellectual doubt.

What’s Intellectual Doubt?

I’ve studied and made the case for Christianity. I can make it evidentially thanks to books such as Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels and God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe by J. Warner Wallace. William Lane Craig’s Defenders and Reasonable Faith podcasts help me make it philosophically.

However, some days it just doesn’t feel real, and other days vibrantly so.

Everyone deals with it. C.S Lewis did and had something to say in the Faith chapter of Mere Christianity.

C.S Lewis’ Thoughts On Doubt

“Now faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding onto things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods and which Christianity looked terribly probable.”
“This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why faith is such a necessary virtue: Unless you tell your moods where to get off, you can Never be either a sound Christian or a sound atheist. Just a creature dithering to and fro.”
“Consequently one must train the habit of faith. The first step is to recognize the fact that your mood change. The next is to make sure that, if you have once accepted Christianity, then some of it’s main doctrines shall be deliberately Held before your mind for some time every day. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed.”

But what about unanswered questions?

Here’s an excerpt from the reading plan I mentioned earlier:

“With an increasing number of unanswered questions, how does a Christian keep his passion for Christ intact? Hank Hanegraaff, The Bible Answer Man, once told me: “Instead of being crushed by a gigantic snowball of questions, let your questions increase your awe for God. If we could figure God out, He’d be a pretty small God.” That resonated with me.”

I got hung up on ‘devotional”. Aren’t those touchy-feely? It’s taking an act of God to make me touchy-feely. It is a good point though.

Here’s a tip I read: just begin thanking God for stuff. You’ll be a one-person worship service. Don’t neglect one for the other, though; remember the Greatest Commandment.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 
Mark 12:30

Have you, or do you struggle with doubts sometimes?

Jesus and the Centurion; Learning Under Jesus

Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions.

After Jesus’s sermon, we walked down the mountain towards Capernaum with a small crowd following. As we entered the city gates we were met by the local elders. Jesus stopped, and one began to speak.

“There is a centurion here in the city whose servant is dying. He asked that we come ask you to heal his servant.”

Simon the Zealot exclaimed, “You want Jesus to heal one of our country’s oppressors!”

Jesus raised a quieting hand. Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?

The elders continued, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.”

A God-fearing Gentile was rare, I thought as we followed Jesus and the elders. Let alone one that financially supported a synagogue. That was more common in the Decapolis where Jews and Gentiles were more intermixed. Jews simply did not enter the home of an unclean Gentile.

We were almost there when more people met us. They were friends of the centurion, and they had another message.

“Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

Jesus looked at us in amazement. He said to us, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Believing in long-distance healing took a special faith. What really got my attention was Jesus talking about the Gentiles being counted among God’s righteous. And some of the Jews being left out? Being Jewish was supposed to guarantee us a seat at the table! God picked us!

Instead, some Jews will be damned. How? Why?

Then Jesus said to the centurion’s friends, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.

They returned to find him healed. We stayed in the city for awhile, but soon we were on our way to Nain.

Matthew 8:5-13
Luke 7:1-10

Nothing Is Going To Stop Them; Learning From Jesus

Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy.

Days later we returned to Capernaum. Hearing that Jesus had returned home, people filled the house till it was overflowing, spilling out the door. Seizing the opportunity, he preached the Word.

At the fringe of the crowd were a group of men carrying their paralyzed friend to Jesus. They had heard of the miracles. No one would let them through, so they looked for the stairs to the roof.
“We can dig a hole and lower you down.”
“Please.”

One went up the stairs to check the roof. “Log beams,” he quietly said to himself, “with packed clay overlying the branches and reeds that were on top of the beams.” Looking down, he waved them up. Once on the roof, they set their friend to the side and got to work. The four of them should get through it pretty quick.

Inside, as dirt started falling, Jesus stopped speaking. He looked up as light pierced through the hole. Soon the rest came apart, and four faces looked down, then withdrew. Then the light was blocked as they lowered their friend.

Jesus smiled at the persistent faith the man’s friends had to have had to destroy a roof so their friend could get help. That’s one way to get attention.

Jesus looked at the man, lying unmoving on the mat. “Son, your sins are forgiven.

Why did he say that I wondered? Some teachers of the law that were in the room started looking at each other, shocked and irritated. Jesus looked at them, saying, “Why are you thinking these things?

“He knows their thoughts,” Nathaniel asked aloud.

Jesus continued, “Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.

The Son of Man from Daniel’s prophecy? I remembered what Daniel wrote about him, that God gave him authority, glory, and sovereign power. His kingdom would never be destroyed. Is Jesus claiming to be the fulfillment of this prophecy?

I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.

The man looked shocked as he found he could move his legs. He slowly stood up and looked at the equally amazed crowd. He rolled up his mat, looked up at his friends who were watching from the hole, and walked out. The crowd parted to let him through.

This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

“Who’s going to fix the roof,” I asked.

Mark 2:1-12