Do you question your beliefs?

A pastor once asked, upon seeing my eyes ask deep, difficult questions week after week, if I “was questioning my faith”.

He asked in a tone that suggested, to my insecure, young-adult self, that questioning one’s faith was a dark, sad thing. I immediately responded, “no”, not only to avoid a conversation I didn’t want to engage in, but because I somehow knew it was the only acceptable answer.

Question Vanishing

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“Real Christians”, didn’t question God or faith. Real Christians made wise decisions, walked straight paths in life, praised God for good and bad things, and knew that they were “sinners, saved by grace”. No questioning needed to happen, because truths were laid out right in front of us, in church every Sunday and (supposed) daily Bible reading. God was black-and-white, not in skin color, but in rule books or moral codes. God was to be trusted at all times, with no exceptions.

Real Christians also didn’t lie, and tell their pastors “no”, when they really meant, “absolutely I’m questioning my faith, along with everything else I believe. Aren’t you?”

With my mind full of questions, I didn’t own the courage that day to tell the pastor a thought or two. This post isn’t a confession, but an acknowledgment of questions bigger than myself.

I’m continuously wrapped in questions about the goodness and faithfulness of God. Whether or not God is trustworthy, and whether I believe the people who assure me that s/he is. Questions asking why I can afford to live with a car, plenty of food, a home of my own, and running water when so many people – of God’s creation – live without any of the above. Or seeking the difference between spirituality and morality. Why do we so often confuse the two?

After dozens of questions, I inevitably arrive at my favorite: Why can two people, who both say (and believe) they are following God with all of their heart/soul/mind, come to entirely different conclusions? Who is right? Is there a “right”? If someone answers “yes” to the latter, I tend to believe they’re either arrogant or ignorant. Arrogant to think that they’ve been the person to discover ultimate truth, or ignorant of a multitude of ideas and perspectives from around the world – something I would never fault someone for but only encourage more education.

A philosopher by nature, my thoughts continuously swirl with question after question, knowing fully well that at some point, I just have to pick a side and go with it. Then, I start the question circle all over again with new twists, turns, and colors. I think this is my life’s journey. Always asking, always searching, refusing satisfaction with easy answers.

Grow

6 comments


  1. Hannah

    I'm only speaking from my own personal experience. That's my disclaimer. I like to say I wrestle with my beliefs. In the words of my pastor "Wrestling is an act of intimacy"…you can't wrestle with someone in the next room over or across the country. My personality is black and white. All or nothing. You either have every single fighting passionate inch of my 70 lb. frame or none of it. 110% or 0. For better or for worse I can't do anything half way. My heart either gets tied up in it and I'm in it for the long haul or I might be there but I'm really not there at all I just don't care. I've asked my friends what my greatest strength is…ALL say I'm fiercely loyal. I know this about my personality. I also know what is true. The minute I really truly believed the gospel and saw it in action…I knew it was true. I knew without a question of a doubt. I knew also I'd have struggles and ask God really big questions but in those times I have learned to let my WILL manifest my FEELINGS. Not the other way around. I don’t freak out when my feelings/doubts don’t line up to what’s true. I let TRUTH put my feelings in their place. I have to because if I don't I'd peace out on my faith and I'm not ok with that. Greater than that the Holy Spirit living inside of me is not ok with that. I ask God really hard questions…I don't have the answers. I probably won't ever have the answers to half of these. But God is God and I'm not God. In the end I think this whole beautiful thing and all our little stories tie into a bigger story that screams of redemption…and there are some ugly parts in this story, there are some very ugly parts in this story but that's what makes the redemption part more beautiful. I still ask why my precious little sister has had to carry some very heavy burdens, I question why I lost my dream job a year and a half ago and have been struggling to make it since then, I question why God has so strongly called me to something with no doors opening and feeling like I'm in a waiting purgatory, I question why God would allow any healthy, happy 45 year old husband and father to die of cancer, I question even more why God told the said friend that his plan was not heal him and instead that his plan was to bring glory to His name through his death (I don't even have words on that one), I question why my precious little 16 year old cousin lives in a home where her parents don't even take care of her when she is sick or ever help her with her homework, I question poverty, heartache, etc. I'm ok with that…but at the end of the day I have to keep trusting….cause it's all or nothing.

  2. Andy Whisenant

    Thank you for putting into words what so many (especially me) wrestle with everyday. Growing up, I too thought that God was black and white and that the answers I got from Sunday School teachers and youth leaders were the final answers about God. They had God figured out and it was up to me to grow to accept that. The problem with those easy answers was was just that…they were too easy. I just couldn't reconcile (and still can't) how we could have an infinite and incomprehensible God all figured out with neat catchphrases and acronyms.

    Glad I'm not the only one who struggles with questions about the nature of God. Thanks for sharing part of your story!

  3. kylajoyful

    I'm glad it resonated with you, Andy. I honestly felt nervous in posting this, so I'm glad it was helpful for you!

  4. Those same questions plague me, Kyla, and I am often frustrated by people who won't even concede that they are difficult issues. Thanks for being so honest!

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