Yesterday at Church180 we started a new teaching series… The intention of this teaching series is two-fold: 1) to take a shot at explaining my God to my friends who don’t believe in Him, and 2) to give my believing friends a starting point for explaining our God to their friends who may not believe in Him.
So yesterday I told our church that if I were to be invited by my unbelieving friend to explain my God, the first thing I would tell them is…
“I don’t always understand my God.”
Now I’m sure that there are some people who wouldn’t start there. I start there… because it’s true! I’ve found that being honest is the quickest way to open the door to helpful conversation!
Besides that, if I did understand everything about my God that would mean two things:
- He would be fairly insignificant. (I don’t understand everything about my 4 year old… and I’m hoping my God is a bit more complex than she is!)
- I would manipulate Him to get my way all the time… if I fully understood Him! That would be great for me… maybe not so great for you (especially if we are cheering for opposite teams)!
I don’t understand everything about God… and saying that is perfectly okay!
Expressing doubts, frustrations, questions, etc. is okay! Unfortunately many of us were raised to “never question God.” This is a premise that is tenuous at best.
Tim Keller, in his book Reason for God, writes:
“A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.
A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.
Believers should acknowledge and wrestle with doubts – not only their own but their friends’ and neighbors’. It is no longer sufficient to hold beliefs because you inherited them.
Only if you struggle long and hard with objections to your faith will you be able to provide grounds for your beliefs to skeptics, including yourself, that are plausible rather than ridiculous or offensive.”
I love this! He gives us permission to wrestle with doubts/questions! But better yet… Habakkuk, a prophet that lived about 2600 years ago, not only gave us permission but showed us HOW to deal with a God we don’t fully understand!
I’m not going to write out all of what we learned yesterday, because you can watch it here!
What I do want to do though is give you some teaching highlights in the form of “tweetables”!
- “Habbakuk was a daring thinker who openly expressed his doubts to God.” Kenneth Boa
- It’s okay to have doubts about God. It’s not okay to live the rest of your life with them! Search for answers!
- The Christian faith is strong enough to handle any question you have! Ask away! Ask questions! Search for answers!
- I will climb up into my watchtower now and wait to see what the LORD will say to me and how he will answer my complaint. (Habakkuk 2:1 NLT)
- Express your doubts and wait on God = the right way. Express your doubts and walk away from God = the wrong way.
- If you walked away from everything in your life that you don’t fully understand, you would have a small life. So why do we do that to God?
- My God does this sometimes – He puts me in places where I feel lost and scared… and then He leaves… or so it seems.
- I’ve come to realize is that He has a plan! He is doing something that when I fully understand… I will agree is good!
- The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains. (Habakkuk 3:16-19 NLT)
- I choose to trust my God even when I don’t understand Him.
Next week the conversation continues!