Is It OK to Have Questions About My Faith?

5 Mins read

Peter Abelard, a man who is widely considered as the leading theologian of the 12th century, once said, “By doubting we are led to question, by questioning we arrive at the truth.” Abelard actually introduced the term “theology” in the way that we use it today. He was a devout man of faith, as he had been raised in a Christian household. He is also considered one of the first people to champion the use of reason when considering matters of faith. Isn’t it remarkable that God used a man who encouraged people to ask questions was the man that God used to spread the truth so strongly during the Middle Ages?

If we’re being honest, we’ve all had questions about our faith. If you have ever found yourself wondering where God was at when you were going through a season of testing, you’ve had questions. If you have ever looked at the suffering in the world and wondered how a loving God could allow such things to happen, you’ve had questions about your faith. If you have ever prayed for something that appeared impossible and then wondered if God was going to do what you were asking Him to do, you’ve had questions about your faith.

There is a stigma around the idea of questioning your faith, and that’s rather unfortunate. While Peter Abelard provided the quote that we just read many years after the New Testament was written, the concept of God’s people having questions can be traced back to the Bible.

Yes, God wants us to completely trust Him. However, that doesn’t mean that He looks to write us off when we have questions. Today, find out more about some heroes of the Bible who had questions and how God responded to them.

John the Baptist
Matthew 11:2-3 (NIV)
When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

John the Baptist was chosen to serve as the forerunner of Christ before he was ever born. In the opening chapters of Saint Luke’s Gospel, we read about an interaction that took place between Mary, the mother of Christ, and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Even inside his mother’s womb, John recognized the presence of Christ, as the Bible teaches us that he leapt inside his mother’s womb. Now, some 30 years after the two babies were in the same room, John found himself imprisoned for preaching that the Messiah had arrived.

Is it a coincidence that John started to ask some questions during his incarceration? Absolutely not. John had dedicated his entire existence to preparing the way of the Lord. The Bible teaches us that he spent his life in the wilderness, traveling from one place to another to preach. God sustained him through locusts and wild honey, and John didn’t even have normal clothes. Instead, he wore animal skins. His life was fully committed to Christ, yet he found himself in prison.

Christ didn’t get angry about John’s question. Instead, he reminded John’s disciples about what they had witnessed.

Matthew 111:4-5 (NIV)
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”

When we have questions, it’s important that we remind ourselves about the times we have already seen the goodness of God. However, in the same way that Jesus wasn’t outraged to the point of rebuking John, God doesn’t get angry when we need a reminder.

Mary and Martha Question God’s Timing
John 11:21 (NIV)
”Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

“If God loves me so much, why do bad things happen to me?” At some point in time, we’ve all asked that question. It’s not a new concept by any means, as Martha asked Jesus the same question some 2,000 years ago. A few verses later, we read that Mary said the same thing to Jesus when He got closer to the house that she shared with Martha and their brother, Lazarus.

The three siblings were close friends of Christ, but when Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was dying, He did nothing. He didn’t respond. He didn’t get up and walk toward Bethany to heal His friend. He didn’t even speak a word of healing from where He was so that Lazarus would live. He had done it for others, but when it came time to do something like that for His friend, He chose to do nothing.

Have you ever found yourself wondering why other people are getting what you’re praying for while it appears that God is ignoring you? We don’t like to acknowledge it, but we’ve all been there. Mary and Martha were there, too. The Bible teaches us that we can be friends of God, but there are still times where we ask, nothing happens, and we have questions.

Jesus never rebuked Mary and Martha. He never told them that He wasn’t going to do what they needed Him to do because of their questions. Instead, He went to the tomb of Lazarus, called the dead man out of the grave, and restored a family.

If God didn’t shut off His power when they had questions, He won’t do that to us. God wasn’t angry at their questions, and He doesn’t get angry about ours.

Thomas: The Doubting Disciple
Jo*hn 20:27 (NIV)
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

The disciples were left with more questions than answers following the death of Christ. Outside of John, each of the disciples had chosen to run when Christ was arrested. On the first Easter Sunday morning, Peter and John went to the tomb. When they found it was empty, they reported it back to the other disciples. However, Thomas declared that he wouldn’t believe Christ had raised again until he could see the scars in his hand and touch the scar in his side.

The disciples, including Thomas, had heard Jesus say that He would die and come back to life, but when faced with the reality of the situation, Thomas doubted. It’s easy to criticize him today, but don’t we take the same approach to faith sometimes? We’ve all had an “I’ll believe it when I see it” moment in our lives.

Yes, Jesus told Thomas to stop doubting, but He did so after alleviating Thomas’ doubts. God doesn’t want us to doubt, but when we do, He doesn’t give up on us. Thomas wasn’t exiled from the disciples for his unbelief. Instead, he had an interaction with God that none of the others got to have. Christ didn’t invite any of the others to touch His wounds. Only Thomas got to do that.

Each of the people that we read about today had questions, and each of their questions led them to the truth. Perhaps Peter Abelard was right.

A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I don’t want to doubt You. I don’t even want to question my faith, but there are times where I do. In those moments, I know that You don’t give up on me. Help me to resist the shame that creeps in when I doubt but strengthen my faith so it doesn’t continue to happen. In Christ’s name, Amen.

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