Friday, April 4, 2014

I Doubt You'll Read This

I doubt it. 

No doubt about it.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

We’ve all likely used these phrases at some point in our lives. But when we start thinking about doubt as it relates to our faith, it can feel “wrong” to many of us. I think that’s because although we know the basic tenets of our faith, it can be challenging for us to be “okay” with questioning the foundation on which they are built. It’s almost like questioning our faith lessens our belief. 

I experienced this the other day in my truck while listening (on YouVersion) to the book of Romans. In chapter four there is a reference to Abraham and the law. Well, I got to thinking about Abraham and his wife having a child, a promised child, so late in life. Then I got to thinking about how long he lived (175 years). That made me think of how long other people in the Bible lived. Adam - 930 years. Noah - 950 years. Methuselah - 969 years. Somewhere along this bunny trail I was chasing my faith collided with my sense of reason.

Could these men have REALLY lived that long? Was a “day” in Genesis the same as a 24 hour day today? If they did live that long, what was different then? Could the impact of sin be SO profound that it lessened the length of human life? If sin had not entered the world, was human life EVER supposed to end in the first place? 

As I asked these questions to myself mentally, they came with a certain degree of guilt. Yet as I reviewed them over and over, they seemed (to me) to be completely FAIR questions…questions that actually drive my faith AND my sense of reason to a common ground. They are helpful questions that deepen my understanding of those tenets of faith I mentioned earlier.

As a minister to students, I want teenagers to have a sense of awe and a sense of wonder when interpreting God’s love letter to us, the Bible. To do so, I want them to feel free to ask tough questions. I want them to have a healthy doubt that drives them to ask critical faith questions. Why? Because I believe there are answers to be given. I believe we serve a God who doesn’t fear these questions. In fact, I think He knows those questions can drive a closer relationship with Him. He knows that these questions reveal a grace and love that can come from no other source but Him. So, yeah…I think He’s good with that.

I hope you will be open to sharing your doubts with your teenagers. I hope they can feel permission to share theirs with you. And I hope you will be able to explore the answers to your faith questions together. 

Please let me know what I can pray about for you or your family.

- Michael

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