When Doubt is Good for You

I vividly recall looking at my hand and bending my fingers, and being amazed at the simplicity and complexity of that movement. All the bones, joints, muscles, nerves, etc. working together to do what my brain was telling them to do. Amazing.

As a teenager I wrestled with doubt.

What if we did “just happen” and if we evolved from primordial ooze?
What if Jesus didn’t really say or do the things the Bible says he did?
How do I know God is even real? 

Thankfully, I was free to embrace my doubt and to ask my hard questions. Many teenagers who grow up in the church feel the pressure to keep their questions to themselves. If they do ask hard questions, they feel looked down on.

An increasing amount of books are recognizing the good things that come from allowing ourselves (and others) to doubt. Teenagers who grow up in Christian families often report a lack of freedom to voice their doubts. Instead, I try to encourage people (especially younger people) to ask their hard questions and to wrestle with their doubts.

One of my favorite stories in the Gospel comes when Jesus interacts with a man whose son is demon-possessed. Here’s the key interaction. We need to encourage this kind of honesty in the church.

But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out[a] and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
(Mark 9:22-24, ESV)


Continue reading