From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” –John 6:67-69
In the scene above, there had just been a mass exodus of followers of Jesus. Jesus addresses His closest disciples, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” which seems to imply Jesus was checking to see if they too had doubts.
Sometimes, if I’m really honest — I mean the type of deep down honesty that rarely finds its way out of the darkness of my soul and into the light of day — I have to admit that there are times I question my faith. Yes, I grew up in the church, attended literally thousands of Sunday school classes, heard just as many sermons, sang in the choir, and followed the prescribed “Christian” path. I went to a Christian college, married a pastor, and even went into ministry myself. But, even so, there are times when questions, fears, doubts, and uncertainty seep into my spirit.
One thing that helps me most during times like this is the fact that I’m not alone in my experience. In Psalm 13:1-3a, David cries out in anguish to God, “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.”
From prison, John the Baptist sent his own disciples to Jesus with one question, “Are you the one who was to come or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:3)
If these great heroes of the faith expressed question and doubt, it should be no surprise to us that we, too, may wrestle with similar questions and experiences. One thing I am learning is not to fear the questions, but rather to acknowledge them, embrace them, and then take them to the best source I’ve ever known for answers, Jesus Christ himself.
Questions are a natural part of life and of our faith journey. God is not afraid of your questions. In fact, He invites them. If the experience of Scripture gives us direction, it points our questions into the heart of God.