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Sex and Doubt

Doubt and Sex

Note: This post is written as a response to some of the ideas contained in a blog post by Derek Rishmawy. My response is strongly filtered through my own experience, and the shared experiences of others in similar situations. Derek has been so kind as to comment, and point out some mistakes I’ve made in this post. I certainly failed to clearly differentiate between Rishmawy’s words and those of Keller. I also focused specifically on one element of Rishmawy’s words that I particularly disagreed with, but which did not represent the overall intent of Keller or Rishmawy. I share my story and opinions not to reject either Keller’s or Rishmawy’s beliefs, but to offer some points of disagreement that I feel are worthy of consideration. I pray that these words will carry the humility they should, and for the places where that humility is lacking, I sincerely apologize. -Micah

I remember what doubt feels like.

The terrifying silence crushing me when I tried to pray. The voices haunting my mind with a thousand questions every waking moment. The nagging fear that my entire spirituality was as all-in bet on a worthless hand, a house of cards about to collapse. I remember praying “Dear God, if you still exist…” It was only a few years ago, and I remember it all too well.

That’s why I must so strongly disagree with the ideas put forward by Timothy Keller in “Who Are You Sleeping With?”

Yesterday Derek Rishmawy wrote about his conversation with Keller, discussing the relationship between sex, doubt, and revival. In this blog post, Rishmawy detailed Keller’s assertion that ”one of the biggest obstacles to repentance for revival in the Church is the basic fact that almost all singles outside the Church and a majority inside the Church are sleeping with each other.” He suggests that ”many college students and young adults don’t want to turn to God… because He has opinions on sex we find restrictive.” According to Rishmawy, “the Bible unsurprisingly starts to become a lot more ‘doubtful’ for [students] once they’d had sex.” He concludes: “Only when Christians are courageous (and wise) enough to deal with our sex issues will we see …revival.”

Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller (image via Patheos)

Let me begin by saying that I have tremendous respect for Keller; his book The Reason for God provided a glimpse of hope for me during one of my darkest seasons of doubt. However, I believe that his thinking on this topic is deeply flawed. As one who has wrestled with doubt during my college years, I find his narrative inaccurate. And I feel that his conclusion only perpetuates the very problem he is attempting to address.

At the heart of Keller’s argument is the idea that our seasons of doubt are motivated by a desire to escape the authority of God because we enjoy illicit sex too much.

He equates “questions about evolution or philosophy” with a “troubled conscience”. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can tell you my own story. In my own story, nothing could be further from the truth.

My dark season of doubt and questioning came during our first year of marriage. My wife and I had waited until marriage to have sex. We were living in love and purity. I was regularly attending church, giving, serving. I was in Bible college. I didn’t have a troubled conscience; I wasn’t trying to justify sin.

And yet, doubt.

I often hear suggestions similar to Keller’s – that questions are an attempt to justify sin, that doubts are an attempt to escape the moral law of God. Let me suggest a different narrative.

As I’ve said before, we are an entire generation with the broken pieces of our religion scattered on the floor around us. Raised in Christianity, we are attempting to make this faith our own.

Doubt is an essential part of that journey.

Looking back, I recognize my darkest moments of doubt as a turning point in my Christian faith. My temporary agnosticism was a religious deconstruction that has allowed faith take root deep in my heart. I don’t think my experience is unique. As I’ve talked with many of my generation who were raised in Christianity, I’ve found this journey to be something we overwhelmingly share.

This engaging/questioning/deconstructing/rebuilding process defines us.

And it’s not because we’re trying to justify sin. It’s because we’re trying to follow God. It’s hard to follow what you don’t really know; at some point, we need to examine everything we’ve been told since we were children and decide whether or not to make it our own. Doubt doesn’t necessarily indicate a heart far from God. It can be the most difficult season for a heart that is seeking God, but also the beginning of finding Him.

For most of my life, my “Christianity” was a religion of consequence avoidance and sin management.

I “got saved” because I didn’t want to go to hell, and then spent years attempting to “not sin” so that I could “please God”. I had no larger narrative for why I should avoid sin, other than that I owed this to God. Sure, I knew all about how it was “a relationship, not a religion” and how “we are saved by grace, not by works”, but my religion was essentially focused on morality. Do what’s right; don’t sin. A few promises of rewards in heaven, and a few assurances that “God’s way is best.” But altogether, it was rather arbitrary.

In this religious system, I spent most of my teenage years trying desperately to please God. 

I regularly heard sermons about how to “be on fire for Christ” or “be used of God”. Always, it was the same thing: Read your Bible more. Pray more. Stop sinning. Do more. Try harder. (Sometimes, I was even the one preaching these sermons.)

Reading Keller’s words on revival, it was liking hearing those sermons again.

I know this is not what Keller believes or teaches, but that subtle current seems present in this particular line of thinking. To be fair, he says that Christians must present sex “within a God-intended framework that imbues it with meaning and value”. I couldn’t agree more. However, he also suggests that we must “deal with our sex issues” before we see revival in our generation. This is backwards. Healthy sexuality grows naturally from healthy spirituality, not vice versa. If we must overcome sin before we can turn to God, where is the power to overcome sin? This was my perpetual conundrum during those years of attempting to please God.

It was an impossible cycle, and I was trapped. 

As a teenager, I literally thought I could chart my “spiritual health” on a line graph, with my only data point being how many times per day I snuck an eager glance at the lingerie section of a J.C. Penney catalog. I believed that the sum total of my relationship with God could be measured by my ability to control my sexual urges. Of course, this was a ludicrously flawed approach to spirituality.

If young people today are hesitant to turn to God, it’s not because “His opinions on sex are restrictive”. It’s because they think that following God is primarily about morality, about “not having sex”. It’s because they see Christianity as a list of beliefs to accept and sins to avoid. It’s because, despite all the right teaching and doctrine, it’s so often just about “trying harder”.

Morality should never be the goal of our spirituality, but rather the result. 

Through the power of the Gospel, Jesus sets us free from sexual bondage. He heals our brokenness and invites us to live as citizens of His Kingdom. This is the beginning of revival. This is a compelling narrative. This is something worth believing in.

Technically, Keller was right; my deepest season of doubt was shortly after I started having sex. I was newly married, and a junior at college. But it wasn’t the sex that inspired my doubt. It was coming face to face with the deep questions of my heart and searching hard for answers.

Looking back, I’m so grateful for that year when I prayed without knowing if anyone was listening. I realize now that I was never far from God. But it wasn’t my own moral efforts that brought me close to Him again. It was a desperate prayer, whispered in scattered moments, scrawled on my hand so I couldn’t forget:

“I believe. Help my unbelief.”

 [ Image: B. Werk ]

Update: Please take a moment to read this clarifying comment on the original post.

Related: Is Doubt an STD? (by Rachel Held Evans)

If you’ve struggled with doubt, would you be so kind as to leave a comment with a bit of your story? 


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  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.purcell.908 Karen Purcell

    Well said Micah. I’m so grateful for doubt, uncertainty that leads to a deep peace and knowing in my heart. Hate it at the time. It hasn’t just been once either, but each time I come out stronger and hopefully more like Jesus. NOT keeping rules has been the biggest freedom to fight for given an early Christian life filled with this nonsense. I’ll take relationship over rules any day, which is why doubt has become a familiar friend over the years. Reading the saints of old (often scorned for being so called Roman Catholic) I’ve discovered it was accepted as the norm by them and they were confident of the path through. It only as we go low that we can truly experience the high of being seated with Him, despite its theoretically reality in any season.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      “confident of the path through”

      I love those words. Thank you.

  • Wes Roberts

    Micah. Thank you. Doubts still happen to we olders, as well. Frankly, for me (@71yo), they have, ultimately, looking back, been the most “trusted” stepping stones to faith, freedom and focus. Comfortable? No. Necessary. Evidently. In my own years those have been dark periods, not the best choices, but it’s why I see sunrise as a life-giving metaphor of hope. The darkness of doubt does not last, even though some nights of doubt can seem over-long. I choose to doubt. I choose to mess up, even if it’s just the attitudes between my ears. I choose to repent, even when self-justification runs rampant. I choose to believe, finally, in the thoroughly unconditional love of the Triune. I choose life, as I’ve been designed to live it. None of that comes from easy belief or following “the rules.” This day I’m not doubting all that much. Tomorrow I may. Last week I was. But as this day begins here in Colorado I choose the freedom to doubt…….and the freedom to love. Because I believe that is what the freedom of the Resurrection is all about. Your blog both inspires and challenges. Keep it coming. This olde man also needs your wisdom, insights, as we both live forward into the hours of this day…because once upon a time one dared to whisper out of unimaginable agony, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Wes. thank you for sharing your story too. I’m glad to see that, at 70 years old, your experience still resonates with mine. It helps me know I’m not just a crazy youngster spouting words. :)

      • Felicia Abril Zamora

        Love what you wrote Micah. I guess am going through that same situation in my life, but it’s really difficult for me in some way at least to make my relationship with God be more intimate, and not based on rules or things that I have to do. Since I always seem to have this thought that comes out and says “Unless you pray, then God won’t act on what you are asking for”… so my relationship with God continues to be “If I don’t do it, then God is not going to help me”….. Any advice on this friend?

        • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

          No. I wish I had advice, but I’ve found that “solutions” are rarely true. All I can say is keep asking Him to seek you, and wait for Him to find you. Know that He’s seeking you even more than you’re seeking Him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=139400316 Alan Noble

    Except that this is simply not what Keller or Derek said: “At the heart of Keller’s argument is the idea that our seasons of doubt are motivated by a desire to escape the authority of God because we enjoy illicit sex too much.”

    This is not even close to what he said. His claim was that sex was a major obstacle for revival. It absolutely does not follow from that statement that all doubt comes from enjoying illicit sex too much. And sense you’ve read Keller, you know that he takes doubts very seriously. But he also recognizes that sometimes doubts are used to justify sin. Now, that might not be your personal experience, and that’s great, but it is the experience of many people. So, I’m not sure that your disagreeing with Keller, because he never said that your doubt came from a desire for fornication.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Thanks for your comment, Alan. This is the section of the blog post that I was referring to when I made that statement:

      “Keller pointed out that it’s a pretty easy bet that when you have a kid coming home with questions about evolution or philosophy, or some such issue, the prior issue is a troubled conscience. Honestly, as a Millennial and college director myself, I’ve seen it with a number of my friends and students—the Bible unsurprisingly starts to become a lot more ‘doubtful’ for some of them once they’d had sex .And it makes sense, right? When you’re engaged in behavior you’ve been raised to believe is wrong, but is still pretty fun, more than that, powerfully enslaving, you want to find reasons to disbelieve your former moral convictions.”

      Based on that paragraph, I think it’s fair to summarize this as the suggestion that doubt is the direct result of a conscious attempt to justify continued fornication.

      I think the blanket suggestion ( or “pretty easy bet”, to use his words) that doubt is the direct result of a troubled conscience creates an unhealthy environment for those struggling with doubts. That’s why I feel that this is worth mentioning.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Also, even if Keller’s core argument is that “sex is a major obstacle for revival”, I’m still a bit uncomfortable with how that’s presented. I’m not a theologian, so I’m not positing this as Bible truth, but it seems to me that such thinking is a cart-before-the-horse approach. Wouldn’t supernatural revival, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, bring the conviction and grace needed to turn from unhealthy sexual behaviors? How would we even have the desire or the power to repent without the revival work of the Holy Spirit?

      • http://canigetanotherbottleofwhine.com/ Kate Hall

        Amen.

      • http://twitter.com/thegracespace Steve Edwards

        Amen!

  • http://www.leighkramer.com/ HopefulLeigh

    I respect Keller but this particular argument didn’t sit well with me. It’s too cavalier a correlation: “I want to have sex so I’ll just start doubting my faith to justify it!” It’s also demeaning to peoples’ valid questions. My doubts began in college but I didn’t have sex. In fact, my love life couldn’t have been further from the reasons why my doubts began. I admit I took a giant step back from God during college but I wasn’t trying to justify my partying. I was trying to make sense of the God I’d been taught about, a God of legalism, and my burgeoning questions and beliefs now that I had room to form them. Even once my faith got “back on track,” the doubts remain. And sex still isn’t part of that equation. In college I was looking for shreds of hope, trying to find anything that could connect me to God because I wanted to believe. It turned out my faith looked different from that which I’d been taught in my childhood but it is still faith. No matter what other people think.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      ” I was trying to make sense of the God I’d been taught about, a God of legalism, and my burgeoning questions and beliefs now that I had room to form them.”

      That was exactly my experience too. Thank you for saying better in one paragraph what I rambled on about for 1000 words.

  • Matthew Green

    I think what underlies Keller’s assertion often has merit. The problem is that he’s caught focusing on sex.
    Keller’s thinking needs two adjustments to it: first, he needed to make it abundantly clear that this was one problem but not the only problem that was obstructing renewal and repentance. It’s difficult to know if the fault here was on Keller or Rishmawy’s interpretation of Keller, but the way it’s presented in the post implies that he was pointing to sexual misconduct as the root of most doubt, which is likely an oversimplification and isolates folks, like Murray, for whom this was not the case.
    Second, he hinted at the issue that doubt can be motivated by more than intellectual wrestling. Our emotional states and desires have a strong influence on how we think and believe, and he demonstrates through the example of sex that this can even play out when we’re not aware of the connections that our minds are making behind the scenes of our thoughts. But sex is far from the only matter that can result in desires and emotions pulling our thoughts toward reevaluating our mental maps. Discomfort, fear, and even hope from all kinds of sources can all result in challenges to our belief structures.
    Of course, then there’s the question of whether Keller’s linking of doubt to lack of renewal or revival is likewise a valid one…

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Ah, very well said. Thank you, sir.

  • Ashley P

    This is a great response. The idea that sexual sin (or any sin!) is the root cause of most doubt and uncertainty is pretty offensive to me. Like you and Leigh, below, point out, my doubts seem to stem from greeting a world that didn’t square with what I’d been taught for the first two decades of my life.

    I also loved this point you make, “Healthy sexuality grows naturally from healthy spirituality, not vice versa.” It’s so true. Let’s stop centering our whole Christian walk around sex and let the fruit of healthy spirituality grow from there.

  • dan stewart

    this was a good read.
    I’m not very eloquent with words so I can’t elaborate much but my experience with doubt has very little to do with when I started having sex (after marriage).

    I feel that doubt is something Christians should talk about more openly…
    thanks Micah.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      thank you, Dan.

  • Amanda

    Micah, thank you for this. The times of doubting I’ve experienced in my life have nothing to do with sex. Rather, my doubts stem from periods of depression (due to my parents’ divorce, post partum, and other life circumstances). I’m thankfully and gratefully starting to see the sun after this latest bout of wandering through the wilderness. My faith had crumbled and it’s slowly being built up again. Some of the bricks are different, some are the same.

    My husband works for a conservative revival ministry (although I don’t really consider myself so conservative anymore), so Keller’s comments within the context of revival are very interesting. I completely agree with you that “morality should never be the goal of our spirituality, but rather the result.” I fear that too often we feel we need to clean ourselves up before we can approach God and that’s just not true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hannah.ruth.morrison Hannah Ruth Morrison

    Wow. i like this. i went through a very similar questioning/agnostic stage…but have now moved beyond that to faith in what i now know is really Truth. and yes, it wasn’t because i was having sex. in fact, i’m still not. i also really like how you talk about is as our revival changes our views on sex…and not vice versa. because otherwise where would the power to change come from? so true…

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Thank you for sharing your story, Hannah.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pennerjoel Joel Penner

    Great blog post.

    I find Keller’s insinuations insulting to my faith and my intelligence. It’s a serious “What the -what?!”

    All I see is one big blame-shifting game away from the church’s own problems. The issue isn’t a lack of revival, it’s a lack of corruption and pure hearts in the leadership of the church itself. When they have taken care of widows and orphans, maybe the church will be useful again. But until then, “Hey Pastor, nice ride, and oh, great tan! How was Japan or Africa or Peru or wherever it was you went? Maybe I’ll get to go once I pay off my loans… and forgo my own vacation plans and put myself into more debt…”

  • http://derekzrishmawy.com/ Derek Rishmawy

    Hey all this is the GUY WHO WROTE THE ARTICLE,

    Bro, I’m going to leave the response I left at RHE’s article on this:

    1. I did not mean to imply that any and all doubts about God, philosophy, evolution, etc. are REALLY just about sex. What I was, apparently clumsily, trying to point out is that the heart is a complicated thing that will often construct rationalizations to protect itself. That said, sometimes doubts are really just doubts and having been a philosophy major at a secular college who had questions and wasn’t having sex, I get that. When my kids come to me about this stuff, I just talk to them about their questions taking them in good faith. If it comes up that there are other issues in play, well, then that’s a thing. I probably should have made this clearer. I never would want to discourage real, honest questions and wrestling. In retrospect, “It’s a pretty easy bet” was probably a poor choice of words and definitely should not be attributed to Dr. Keller.

    2. Nowhere did I or Tim Keller call evolution into question as a scientific theory of biological diversity and origins. It’s just a very common issue that raises questions with college kids. It was an observational/descriptive point, not one about what should or shouldn’t be considered core doctrine. If somebody comes out with a blog post on this saying, “Tim Keller and Some Guy At Patheos say that Evolutionists are Fornicators”–just saying, I you’re misreading it. Which could easily be my fault as a writer too. In fact, Dr. Keller himself affirms some sort of theistic evolution and has gotten a lot of crap for it himself so I’m sure he’s not dismissive of people who do as well.

    3. As for the “tactic” I did note that Keller said it was almost too cruel to use. I myself never have. I don’t like “gotcha” moments. The point was illustrative. Indeed, I think I might have used the word, “illustrated.” Realize that the man wrote an entire book called ” The Reason for God” in which he addresses most of the main, intellectual questions those same people has on their own terms, gently, graciously and with respect and all over the place talks about hearing people on their own terms. He didn’t advocate that tactic–it really was an illustration. He never suggested that pastors actually use it or that we should go in and constantly check kids who had questions and demand to know their sexual habits. I know that’s not my approach when I first have a kid coming to me with issues.

    4. Any infelicities remaining probably should be attributed to my faulty memory, poor listening comprehension, or weakness as a writer and not Dr. Keller.

    Best,

    Derek

    PS. For this blog, I’d add that as bad a communicator as I might have been, you pretty much went out of your way to misread it. This is a thoroughly uncharitable interpretation.
    You took a statement about “one factor”, admittedly a strong one, and turned it into the only factor.
    You attributed to Keller what were clearly my comments. If you’re gonna call someone out, call out the right person.
    You got some of my comments wrong, and basically read the whole thing through your own, very real, feelings coming from your story, and ended up with Keller and myself saying something much harsher and distorted.
    I rarely say this, but this post was dishonest.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Derek,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and clarify. I noticed your clarification this morning after posting the post, and linked to it at the end of my post.

      I definately hear your critique of my response, and I appreciate it. As I wrote this post, I tried to be very careful to engage specifically with what was written in the post, though you’re right that I failed to adequately differentiate between your word and Keller’s.

      I sincerely apologize that my post comes across as dishonest. I certainly didn’t go out of my way to misconstrue your post. The thoughts contained in my response were my initial reaction upon reading your blog, which I then worked through over the course of several hours and several rereadings.

    • David Walker

      I’ve read both posts. Micah may not have perfectly reflected your whole “intent.” But, in my opinion, his post was well within the ambit of being reasonably (and charitably) responsive to the actual words you wrote. I guess I must be a dishonest, deliberate misreader, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tiffany.aukes.9 Tiffany Aukes

    O wow. I just skimmed this post. I can’t read it in detail right now because I don’t want all the memories and emotions surging to the top at this moment, but I relate very, very deeply to every step. I felt guilty doubting anything as a teenager, yet as a young adult, doubt was the beginning of reality in my life. Thanks for writing, Micah!

  • http://canigetanotherbottleofwhine.com/ Kate Hall

    I really enjoyed this post. I’ve had doubts regularly over the years and I’ve tried living that “do things for God, to please God” life which was horrible and painful and legalistic. I buck and run from anything that tells me I need to “do” anything, particularly in my own strength or something that isn’t a RESULT of my relationship with Christ. Always learning as I seek to follow.

  • http://twitter.com/thegracespace Steve Edwards

    Yep, absolutely, morality comes from healthy spirituality. Thank God for the modern Grace movement led by Joseph Prince which is allowing people to see that once in Christ they are absolutely free – God never sees our ‘sin’ again – it was all crucified with Christ on the cross. For too long our leaders have been preaching how we are sinners – when Paul does his best to teach us we are holy, perfect and righteous – not by anything we do, but because of what Jesus did for us. We are free. And this amazing grace isn’t a licence to sin, as some put it, rather understanding His great sacrifice to ensure our holiness regardless of our mistakes draws us closer to Him, motivated by love and thankfulness, not by fear. Perfect love casts out fear. Hallelujah! Thanks for a deeply personal and well written article..

  • http://twitter.com/thegracespace Steve Edwards

    I’m surprised Keller has written this. I just read The Prodigal God and from that I thought he grasped ‘grace’ but if this is what he’s saying, maybe he doesn’t grasp grace at all. Christ eradicated sin on the cross. He made a covenant with us which says He will never ever remember our sins ever again. (The Hebrew uses a double negative). If God will never remember our sins again because Christ has crucified them on the cross, how will our sin therefore affect revival? *mind boggles*. God is in complete control. We know how the story ends. Thank God we are on the winning side. All we have to do is rest in His grace and His promises, live truthfully, minister the message of reconciliation, tell people they are forgiven in Christ, make disciples, and care for the marginsalized, the sick and the poor. It’s not that difficult, is it?

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      In fairness to Keller, I don’t believe these words necessarily are reflective of his overall theology.

  • http://lovingfromtheinsideout.blogspot.com Connie

    I began to have my (ahem, FIRST) period of real doubt when I was 23 or 24. I didn’t become sexually active until I was 36–yes, 36. (This is not to say I never had a guilty conscience–I was raised fundamentalist; of COURSE I had a guilty conscience…about just about everything!) But I don’t remember my intellectual doubts or my emotionally painful questions ever stemming from a desire to justify a looser morality. “How do I know this is really true?” and “How could He allow (all sorts of horrible things to go on)?” did not spring from, “Well…I just really want to have sex.”

  • http://twitter.com/BrianSDare Brian Dare

    Was Keller was suggesting that sexual sin is the cause for doubt every single time? In fact, he said himself that this method of dialogue would be too offensive to actually use. He was simply saying that it is so consistently is true that you could enter into the dialogue this way and it would hit the target most of the time. Your experience was different. Keller, a man who is a thinker, champion of grace and the gospel, and an author that writes on the topic of doubt wouldn’t hesitate to confirm and perhaps even empathize with your own experience. His point is that regularly there is tie to doubt and moral failure. I think that it was worth him noting.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      The phrase used in Rishmawy’s recounting of Keller’s statement was “pretty easy bet”, to describe the relationship between ‘questioning” and a “troubled conscience.” It seemed to me that he was implying that it was certainly the norm, not the exception. This statement warrants some pushback, I believe, because so many who have struggled with genuine, seeking doubt have done so out of a desire to truly find God, not justify their sin.

      • http://twitter.com/BrianSDare Brian Dare

        I’ve struggled with that as well, and not in the throws of immorality (although I have also struggled with doubt while I WAS within the throws of some level of immorality). But I appreciate your thoughts. I guess I’m just a bit defensive of Keller when he is such a champion of grace and typically not guilty of oversimplification.

        • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

          That’s a fair criticism. In retrospect, I was too hasty and sloppy in this critique of him.

  • s

    I am in the midst of some awful doubts at the minute. I grew up in a Christian home and to be honest have no real memory of ever coming to faith. I have taken Jesus for granted for so many years, and because of this doubt my Salvation – have I ever truly believed in Him, do I truly believe in Him now. I doubted from the age of 9 until the age of 15 – I never told anyone, I believed that telling someone, particularly my parents, would make them judge me, make them love me less. I didn’t think it was okay to ask questions. I read the Case for Faith by Lee Strobel and it helped, and somewhere around the age of 16 I stopped doubting. I fell in love with God, and His heart for the poor. I went away on mission trips, and chose a degree that could be used on the mission field. I felt like I was trusting Him wholeheartedly, but I was so focused on this part of the faith. I didn’t spend enough time really reading the Bible or praying, though I genuinely felt convicted over it. I always thought though that I didn’t have enough faith, and only really had assurance of salvation for a day or two, that I remember.

    Now, I am 21, and the doubts have started again. I am doubting my faith, doubting everything I believed to be true. I am supposed to be going to the mission field for three months this year, it was going to be preparation for moving out there for a year, with the potential of making it longer next September. But now, I feel like I’m losing my faith. I’m up and down from day to day, and all I want is to find God. If I had to lock myself away in a room and wait for Him there until the day I died, I would do it, as long as I knew He was coming. But I’m doubting He’s there, and I’m doubting He’s coming. I want to love Jesus more, because He deserves so much more than what I give Him. I am struggling, and I am supposed to be leaving to serve Him in a number of weeks.

    Your article gives me a little hope, as you talk about your doubts, I can empathise. I love hearing that other people have been there, and have got through it. I want to believe I’ll get through this, I can’t imagine life without God – even though I’m doubting if I ever had Him to begin with.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Thanks so much for your honesty, and for your story. I can relate to so much of it. Know that God won’t let you go. You don’t have to worry about losing Him, He’s determined to not lose you.