Today the lesson for our middle school children at our church was about having doubts about God and if that is ok or not. Writing about our doubts has been burning on me since I first looked at the lesson. It was great today to get to sit back and listen as my co-teacher (who does such a great job) led the lesson. There is a lot of learning that can happen when we actually sit, listen, and allow ourselves to really think about what God is trying to tell us. It was also great to hear the children’s responses.
The girls weren’t really sure when first presented with the question as to whether or not having doubt and questioning was ok. They weren’t sure if God would be ok with any unbelief. One of the girls brought up the fact that God killed Ananias and Sapphira for lying in Acts 5:1-11. That was from a lesson on lying we had a few weeks ago. It was encouraging in the fact that the girls are actually listening. We do have to be careful of only looking at the wrath of God in scripture and missing the truth and reasons for it. The key in that story is that they lied to God. Their hearts were dishonest. Are we dishonest when we tell God that sometimes we doubt or are we dishonest when we act like pompous know it all’s that never question our faith?
God knows we have a human sinful nature. That was His whole purpose to send Jesus to the cross to save us from that sinful nature. As long as we are alive we will have the human nature creeping into our thoughts and decisions even after choosing to follow Jesus. Having doubts is part of our humanness. What God wants more than anything is for us to have a personal relationship with Him. What do we want most out of relationships? Honesty would rank extremely high in any kind of relationship. If I ask a friend if I have food in my teeth or on my face I want the honest truth!! Seriously though it has been the times in my life of my greatest doubts and fears that God has done His greatest work in me. It has been those overwhelmed cries to Him as fears and doubts bear down on my faith that God has revealed His glory to me. So often His miracle is within my own heart. He opens my eyes to new perspectives, His perspective. A change in me that can only be from Him and only would have happened through my doubting.
Our lesson was from Mark 9:14-27 with verses 22-24 as the focus verses. “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” He didn’t condemn the father for questioning and admitting that he had unbelief. He honored the honesty by showing the child’s father God’s glory and power by healing his son. Do you think the father had much unbelief after that encounter?
In our discussion “doubting Thomas” was brought up. John 20:24-29. There again honest questions and doubt were presented by Thomas and Jesus then provided proof of His nail scarred hands. One of the girls said and I paraphrase. “So doubting Thomas was actually a good thing!” God has a specific purpose for every part of scripture and the fact that there are specifics about doubt means it is important. Every case of doubt and question that is presented to God humbly and honestly is honored by God showing His glory. It provides God an opportunity to draw us closer to Him. It provides God the opportunity on a personal level to confirm our faith more deeply and strongly. When we are honest and looking for Him He most certainly reveals Himself in ways beyond our furthest imagination.
On the flip side when a person does not have the desire to believe and denies God entirely the blessing of truly knowing Him is missed. The miracles, the peace, the hope, the freedom from the burden of sin, and eternal life is missed….forever…don’t let doubt harden your heart. Present questions to God and be in awe of how He changes your heart for the better.