The importance of doubt within faith

I love the fact that God calls the Church his Bride. This shows the beautiful level of commitment God has to the people who are trying to follow him. It shows the level of intimacy that he desires with them. It shows the love that a husband is supposed to have for his wife, one that could even get himself killed. God makes a bold statement when he calls us his bride.

I am not a married man (I have had a few girlfriends, and, a few serious ones). And, I also have some really good friends. Good relationships are not for the weak of heart. My best relationships exists when I can call out those I am engaged with. I can share the way they’re being tools. I am also allowed to express my doubts with this person. I can ask questions “Where is this going?” “Do you see this working out?” In the moments of these relationships, these have been the most intimate and growing experiences in my life. I am able to ask for what I need, rather, than staying silent and making sure things are staying, nice, neat and orderly. These are the relationships I am truly engaged with. I am invested in these relationships.

I think it’s a slap in the face to God when we convert to Christianity to get into heaven. We are doing it only because we are afraid to go to hell and we don’t really love God. I imagine this is like marrying a girl because she has nice boobs, but, I didn’t really want to be friends, help raise a family, or, care about who she was, I just wanted to have sex with her. I get something pleasurable without sacrificing much. But, if I wanted to be a good husband, I’d be engaged on her behalf. I’d fight for her. I’d do things for her when she is sick and tired. I’d defend her glory, when others have marred it. I’d fight with her against things that she was passionate about, things that she believed would make our lives better. Things that would make the world better. I’d fight against her, when she was clearly wrong. When she was struggling with a bad habit or sin. In all of this, I’d express my doubts in all of this.

I think God wants this type of relationship with his church. God wants us to be engaged with him. God wants us to express our personal and theological doubts about who he is, rather than suppressing them because “that’s what a good Christian doesn’t have doubts.”  God wants us to fight him. God didn’t have a problem with Job when he did it, nor, the other cases in the Bible. God actually delights in it because I am bringing who I am to him, I am trusting him with my personal and spiritual frustrations. God is a God full of wisdom and grace, God is a God who wants to provide, so God will give to us what we need. And, while there is angst, like there are in all of our best relationships, these are the moments of greatest trust and intimacy.

Ideologically, as Saint Augustine puts it “If we can comprehend it, it’s not God.”

Relationally, all great things are worth fighting for. Struggle creates endurance, strength, wisdom and trust.

So be engaged with this God. Be engaged with the God who loves you. Who cares about you. Who cares about your struggles. Who cares about what you care about. Who cares about your questions even more than your answers because your answers can’t fully contain him. Be engaged with this God of beauty, who wants to enrich your life, even when it feels dark and ambiguous.


10 thoughts on “The importance of doubt within faith

  1. courtney says:

    I love this. Love what you had to say. Good stuff! I wholeheartedly concur…

  2. really insightful, I couldn’t agree more with this 🙂

  3. Mollye says:

    I am reading N.T.Wright’s book, Surprised By Hope: Rethinking Heaven, Hell and (something else here I can’t remember). I think you might find it really interesting. For a long time I have been immersed in the questions, allowing the process of questioning and not knowing to deepen me. This book is giving me a really good framework from which to formulate new questions and hang new truths I have learned. Check it out if you haven’t already.

  4. I’ve long despised the fire insurance view of God but I hadn’t considered how God feels about it. Your analogy of turning God into a big-boobed sex toy (not your precise words 🙂 ) is fantastic.

    Lots of people are writing against the doubt trend – but I say why suppress if it’s there? that’s not gonna help a freaking thing. So tell God, and be honest with others – that’s about the only way it will get resolved (if it even does).

  5. Awesome blog – so right with the way our relationship with Christ (should become). I agree with every point except one: “I think it’s a slap in the face to God when we convert to Christianity to get into heaven.” People come to God in many ways and for many reasons – and thank God they do 😉 . I don’t think that most people, even those who grow up in a Christian home, come to Christ in the sense that a bride marries her husband. And yes, I’m sure that many come to God out of fear and wanting to go to heaven. When you first meet someone, you don’t have a close relationship with them immediately. Relationships (friendships, romantic relationships, family relationships, etc.) take time to grow. Most people don’t meet someone and run off to Vegas that night, get married, and automatically feel devoted and care for that person to the point of being willing to die for them. (God can but he’s known us since before we were born .) God first loved us, so it’s takes time (some longer, some shorter) for us to come to love him the way a bride/groom loves their spouse. … right on through about how it should be – with God and with your spouse!

  6. […] Friday, I randomly encountered a compelling blog post by Mike Friesen, The Importance of Doubt Within Faith where he says, “God wants us to express our personal and theological doubts about who he is, […]

  7. Good stuff! In Sunday School this morning (Easter Sunday) I presented the Gospel from the beginning–making sure that they know that Jesus Christ died for their sins, yes. Died so that they won’t go to hell, yes. But the BIGGEST thing he died for was their relationship with God to become restored. Easter is the day that God romanced us. That’s the way that I look at it! 🙂

    • mfries05 says:

      I really like that. As I have heard it, are we converted for what we get, or, are we converted because we are seduced by the divine?

      • I was convinced until this last year that Jesus simply saves us from hell, and that there’s nothing more to it. When you think about that, it begins not making much sense. I start thinking about, well, why was hell an option in the first place? Because of my separation from God as a result of my sinful nature. So Jesus didn’t just save us from hell, but from separation from God. Our relationship is restored with our loving God! I’m hoping that my generation of youth pastors gets it right, and when trying to get teens “converted”, we explain that they are getting a relationship with their almighty creator and lover, not just a “get out of hell free” card. So much more powerful, so much more convincing. That’s the kind of Christianity I want to follow.

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