Emily’s best friend, and fiance, both died young, tragic deaths shortly after abandoning their faith.
“Is God killing us for questioning our faith?”
Her friends questioned their faith, challenged what was taught, and then chose something different. Did this lead to their death?
I shake my head and get chills when she voices this because I believe it isn’t true. God has not killed her friends for abandoning their conservative Chrisitan values and beliefs.
It pains my heart she ever felt compelled to wonder this because my experience has been that questioning can lead to life.
Doubt can strengthen your faith; leaving can bring you closer than ever.
I think some circles discourage doubt and questioning because it feels safer. If we all think the same “right” doctrines the institution works. The group can be controlled.
From experience, I can say it felt good to think I was believing the one right thing. It was so secure and confidence-inspiring…until I started to question.
I’d like to propose that God has a much bigger stance on our questioning; a response that is seasoned with patience, forgiveness, and grace. God is not shocked by our confusion and anger at certain Scriptures.
I’m not saying God doesn’t care about our doubts, frustrations, and concerns about faith and life. I’m saying God cares so much that God gives us the room, space, and time to work them out.
By working them out, I don’t mean that eventually, we’ll agree with what our parents or pastors taught us (although that might happen). I mean, we get to work them out in real life. Test them. See, over time, what new information emerges. Let God prove that Jesus is good, true, and trustworthy.
Maybe our understanding of God will need to shift. Maybe we will find new interpretations of frustrating scriptures. Maybe Spirit will prove to be so sweet and present when we most need it that our faith will be renewed, and the questions will seem less important.
And maybe not. Maybe the questioning and doubt will never end. But my experience has been that Truth and Love have a way of working on our souls even when we don’t want them to.
Did God kill my friend’s friends? If so, then I certainly should be dead as well.
Yet, my experience is that God has been kind, patient, and gracious with my questioning. Even when my questions were not humble and faith-filled.
Why did God allow them to die? I don’t know. And I’m not sure it’s the right question. But what I do know is that God is a God of new life, forgiveness, long-suffering, and resurrection.
I hope my kids never wonder if God is punishing them for their questions and deep doubts. I hope they believe they can wrestle with God as Jacob (the father of the Jews) did. I pray they remember all the Torah heroes who made horrible immoral choices, and God still chose and used them.
I hope they dig in deeper when they have doubts. I believe that God and Scripture will be able to stand the barrage.
Our doubts and disagreements with God don’t kill us. In fact, they often save us.