If you are a believer in Jesus, do you ever doubt your faith? If you doubt, does that mean you don't really have a saving faith or that your faith is weak?
I've had this discussion a couple of times with my ten year-old son. He has been raised in a Christian home. He accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior when he was five. This is young, but he has always been a very thoughtful boy and he was serious about this decision. It was my blessing to be able to baptize him and a couple of years later his younger sister.
Now that my son is older, he's thinking more about his faith and what he believes. Some things in the bible sound a little far out. Once you learn that Santa Claus is just a nice story, you start to question other stories you've been taught, even ones you're taught in church. So one night my son comes to me, with tears in his eyes, wondering if he can really be a Christian if he has these doubts.
I told my son, if he has doubts, he needs to seek out answers. Like I said, my son is a very thoughtful young man. I had to answer questions like,
Why did God create Satan if he knew he would rebel and be evil?
If I am saved and have the Holy Spirit in me, why do I still lose my patience with my little brothers and sisters and do mean things to them?
These are just a couple samplings. I thank God for His Spirit to help me as a field these tough questions. Amazingly enough, these types of questions will often come after I have studied a similar topic or listened to a teacher\preacher like John Piper talk about them. I don't always give a great answer. Piper makes answers to these types of questions seem so logical but they are much tougher when talking about them with your ten year-old son.
However, the best answer I gave my son was to take his doubts to God. Read his bible, pray, but most importantly, remember what he knows to be true. He has some great anchors of God working in his life to hold on to. I wrote about one of these experiences this past spring.
My son is working out his faith. He is so much further ahead of me than where I was at his age, in some ways, further than I am now. It's scary for a father to watch his son work through his doubts? What if he chooses not to believe? All I can do is love him, teach him, lead by example, and be honest when I fail in my own faith. God has to do the rest. My son's faith is ultimately between him and God.
I was inspired to write this post because of a story I read about a man that has lost his faith. You can read Dan's story here. I don't believe anyone can snatch any believer from Jesus (John 10:28-29). When I read Dan's story, it sure sounds like Dan had a saving faith, so how could he have lost it? I don't know. I don't know what was really in Dan's heart before and I don't know what is really there now. Was he never really saved? Or is he just now in a dark valley where he will eventually emerge more confident than ever in his faith?
That's not the point of Dan's story. The point is how he claims his wife and his pastor have responded to his story. The response he describes is tragic and it's not how Jesus would call us to respond. I'm not assuming Dan's story is true and I'm not assuming it's false. I don't personally know any of those involved. However, it is a story we all need to pray about.
Pray for Dan and that while he believes he has turned his back on Jesus, that he learns that Jesus will never turn his back on him.
Pray for Dan's wife and their children. Whether these accusations are true or false and whether Dan ever comes back to the Lord or not, this experience their family is suffering through is heart wrenching.
Pray for Dan's church and community, for those that know Christ can respond in love and those that do not know Jesus will see a response in love where it appears love has been lacking.
Pray for yourself and your family. Pray that God will give you the faith and wisdom to not fear your doubts but to embrace your doubts as you work out your faith and seek Him who promises to answer (Luke 11:9-10).