Jun 19, 2020

What to Do With Doubt (Part 2)

“I’m a pastor’s kid; I shouldn’t have doubts! I shouldn’t be wrestling with questions about faith.”

If you’ve ever had these thoughts, you’re not alone. I can relate (see PART 1), and so can a lot of other PK’s.

Honest doubts and sincere questions about God, Christianity, and the Bible aren’t bad; they’re just a part of life. But what do we do with our doubts? It can be uncomfortable, disorienting—scary even—to suddenly doubt what we’ve always believed.

So, what’s a PK to do when the doubts and questions come?

1. Stay Calm

First, recognize it’s ok to have doubts. As you grow older and learn more about the world, you’ll naturally have questions. This is a normal part of growing up. In fact, my dad (a pastor) said the other day, “I think it’s an experience everybody needs to have. Especially if they came to faith in Christ as a young child.”

2. Ask Your Questions, Admit Your Doubts

This may seem obvious, but often this is the step people are most afraid of (especially PK’s). Sometimes we’re so afraid of our doubts that we don’t want to admit they are there. But whether or not we admit it, the doubts and questions linger in our minds, keeping us in a constant state of turmoil. Until we ask our questions and admit our doubts, we can’t face them.

3. Seek Answers

Questions and doubts are not an end unto themselves; they’re a means to an end. Questions exist for answers, so once we’ve asked our questions and admitted our doubts, we need to take the next step and do our best to find the answers—to find the truth. That means using our brains and examining the evidence. It’s tempting to distract ourselves with video games, Netflix, or shopping (not that those are bad things), but we won’t make any progress until we take the time and put in the effort to think deeply about the issues we’re wrestling with.

4. Don’t Doubt Alone

We can easily get stuck in our own heads, trapped in cycle of thinking that’s just not… helpful. Saying our thoughts out loud to another person can make a huge difference. Be honest with people you trust, and if you need someone to talk to, the PastorsKids team is here for you. They’re safe people; you don’t have to pretend with them. No matter what your struggle, they will listen without judgment.

5. Do Some Research

If you’ve got questions about the biggest issues of life (Is there a God? Is Jesus really God’s Son? Is the Bible true? What about other religions? Why is there suffering in the world?), you’re going to need to do some reading. The good news is there are lots of great thinkers who have written about these questions (see the list at the end of the blog). As you read, you’ll learn, which may lead to even more questions… but that’s ok! Remember, questions aren’t bad; they’re a part of learning and growing. So dig in, read, research, and learn from others who have wrestled with their own doubts.

6. Recognize You’ll Never Have it All Figured Out

Even after all the research and reading, after lots of conversations with friends, teachers, parents, or the PastorsKids staff, you still won’t have all the answers. You know why? Because we humans are finite, and this universe is infinite. Our brains aren’t big enough to take in all the information in the universe and understand it all. In this life on this earth, we’ll never have all the answers. But that’s ok. We may not have all the answers, but we can have more answers tomorrow than we do today. We can keep asking our questions, seeking answers, and exploring evidence, and if we do, we’ll grow and change.

7. Know that God is With You in Your Doubt

Ok, so I get that right now you might be doubting if God even exists or if the Bible is even true, but I’m going to tell you this anyway. God sees you right where you are, with all your doubts and questions, and He loves you. He understands. I know it sounds churchy, but it’s true. As a doubter myself, one of my favorite passages in the Bible is in Mark 9. This guy comes to Jesus’ disciples and asks them to help his son who is possessed by a demon that’s trying to kill him. It’s been this way a long time, and the dad doubts that things will ever change. He doubts Jesus can make a difference:

The man says, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

“’If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

I love this story because I’m like that man. I have questions and doubts, and sometimes I wonder if God can really help. I do believe, but I have some unbelief too. And this story tells me that Jesus will help me overcome my unbelief. Because right after the father said those words, Jesus cast the evil spirit out of his son. Even though the man had doubts, Jesus met his need. Jesus helped with his unbelief, Jesus helps with mine, and He will help you with yours.

Some Books that Might Help You Think Through Your Questions and Doubts:

  • The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel
  • Faith and Doubt by John Ortberg
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  • Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father’s Questions about Christianity by Dr. Gregory A. Boyd and Edward K. Boyd
By <a href="https://pastorskids.org/author/brett-mosher/" target="_self">Brett Mosher</a>

By Brett Mosher

Growing up as a pastor’s kid, Brett loved being involved at church but had his sights set on careers outside the church. God had different plans for Brett and steered him to Oakwood his senior year of college. In the 12 years Brett has been with Oakwood, he has served the church through various ways. He presently serves as our Pastor of Community Ministries. Brett caught the travel bug at a young age--he and his family lived all around Texas as well as Florida and Missouri. His favorite travel destination is a tie between London, Breckenridge, Laguna Beach, or maybe Switzerland. When he’s not traveling the world or helping at church, you might find Brett hiking, kayaking, or playing board games.