Have you experienced it before? The ever-irksome foe named Doubt darkens your door of faith, casting a shadow over everything you have believed for much of your life. Paralyzed by the fear of what this might do to your relationship with God, and to top it off, your reputation with those who have always identified you as “Christian,” this existential crisis brings you to your knees.
You wonder, How did I get here? I didn’t want this to happen. I thought I knew what I believed.
You may not readily admit it, but you’ve probably been there. Maybe you were hurt by someone you loved within the Church and thought following Christ was supposed to look different. Maybe you read some works of Sam Harris or Christopher Hitchens and their arguments became compelling to you. Or maybe it was your inability to shake a recurring sin or a lack of feeling the presence of God in your life.
Whatever the case may be, that hideous Doubt has a way about him. He sneaks into your soul to try and woo you away from the everlasting source of hope and strength.
Doubt can be a discouraging and debilitating opponent in the Christian life. We don’t like to talk about it because it feels humiliating. It’s something we’re not proud of. It feels dirty to doubt.
WHEN DOUBT CAME TO MY DOOR
I remember my crisis moment. I was sitting in a stadium seat at a conference, stunned at what John Piper was unpacking in Scripture right before my eyes. That NIV with my name etched on the cover had been in my possession for years, but I had never noticed in it the things this preacher was saying.
I thought I knew who God was, but was he really this? I had professed Christ as my Lord and Savior, but is this what I meant by that? I had to do some serious searching in the days and months that followed to determine how I answered those questions.
This came at a time when I was fresh into college, and as you might have guessed, surrounded by new obstacles to faith: a philosophy professor who assigned me William James to read, and laughed out loud at my theological answers to real-world problems. A speech professor who flunked my speech defending Creationism as a viable explanation of the universe and gave an A to the girl in the class who presented a speech on evolution. Stump preachers setting up on campus to yell at the LGBT students. Varying campus ministries who put “doing life together” at the top of their values but made little room for gospel transformation. A roommate who said he was a Christian but could not have been classified as a “follower of Jesus.” And now this Piper guy wrecking my understanding of righteousness, the glory of God, and the atonement.
I had to answer for myself the question, “Who is this Son of Man?” (Jn. 12:34).