I woke by 4 a.m. for my usual time with the Lord. My week was going extremely well; I was at my best….and I knew why. I was close to God, time wasn’t an issue anymore …despite my tight schedule and all the pressure from work, I still made time to commune with my Maker. I would wake up in the wee hours and I never felt tired. So on this day, I left for work by 6 p.m. (which is pretty typical for Lagos residents) and by 7:15a.m I was at work. I casually browsed the internet…well, Facebook to be precise and there it was-some message about Jesus Christ being a fictitious character made up by Roman Emperor, Constantine. I kept saying to myself…it can’t be, it shouldn’t be. At that moment, the very foundation of my faith was questioned. I kept researching and the arguments were numerous but also confusing.
To describe the myriad of emotions would be impossible but at some point, I delved into some form of depression. The questions were stirring me in the face and I couldn’t answer them. What if at the end, Jesus (the Son of God) never existed or truly, there was no God. What if all of these…all my beliefs were false? Was I ‘brainwashed’ as described by these ‘logical’ thinkers. And to top it all up…no one I talked to seemed to have the aha! insight to convince me. Slowly, I stopped believing…and it felt like I was in some form of daze. I stopped praying because I couldn’t silent the small voice that kept telling me that my prayers were all some form of mumbo jumbo….I even felt like I hated the Bible. I still went to church…but all the things I once loved about the gathering with other Christians seemed like a lie.
But you know what? Thanks to a God who remains faithful in our faithlessness. I picked up my Bible one day to read…casually if I must say and I was led to Job 22: 2 – 3 (AMP):
“Can a man be profitable to God? Surely he that is wise is profitable to himself. Is it any pleasure or advantage to the Almighty that you are righteous (upright and in right standing with Him)? Or is it gain to Him that you make your ways perfect?”
I realized in what seemed like an epiphany- if I choose God and righteousness, I would not be doing this for God or for other men; it would be for me. As selfish as it sounds, it all made everything come together. Within me, I came to the conclusion that if I choose righteousness and at the end of it all, there is a God, then I won’t be found on the wrong side. On the other hand, if there is no God, at least I would have lived right on earth. Whichever way, I win.
From then on, I have realized a lot. To me the most important lesson was written by Dr William Craig where he states that there is a difference between knowing and showing Christianity to be true. To me, Christianity is no longer about the religion and beliefs; Christianity is my life, it is my all, it is my identity…and who can be more real to me than…me.
I have found and inculcated strategies that have helped me deal with my doubt:
- I have to ensure that I am a regenerated Christian and constantly surrender myself to the Holy Spirit. That way, I have that counselor who assures my faith in God.
- I actively cultivate christian virtues. I always analogize this by referring to the effects of good diet and exercise on the body. Faith is most ‘healthy’ when it is exercised regularly. I have developed a routine for communicating with God (praying and reading his word). I also take time out regularly to fast.
- I try not to be a ‘Lone Ranger’ Christian- I am active in my church, so that I am serving others. By doing this, I have often seen evidence that convinces me that God is real.
- Despite (and especially in)my doubt, I share your faith with others. The effects of contributing positively to another’s growth in Christianity are truly rejuvenating.
- I always remember that I am fighting a battle. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12 that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against (spiritual) principalities and powers. Doubt is a ploy to lead you away. But…there is a solution in the next verse saying that we should put on the whole armor of God which includes the sword of the Spirit – the Word of God (vs17).
- I seek answers to my doubt. From time to time, when I have the opportunity, I select one of my ‘doubt’ questions, and go to work on answering it. When doubt is resolved, I am overwhelmed with a sense of “intellectual peace” which consequently, inspires confidence that there are solutions to the remaining difficulties I have faced.
To someone who is going through this sort of struggle….I want to encourage you. To tell you that you are not alone in this “battle”- most of us have gone through or still go through periods of doubt.
Moments of doubt don’t make you less of a believer but how you get through them do. I’ll like to end by reminding you that…
- Faith is a choice. It is a choice you will have to make everyday.
- In your walk, you would always find people who think your ‘faith’ is foolishness.And you’ll have to accept that.
- You may never have all the answers.. but this is what should reinforces your trust in God. You should have that conviction that you are right and some day, the ‘mysteries’ would all make sense.
I hope I have been able to talk to someone who is dealing with doubts in their growth. I would love to hear from you.