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There are times my faith goes up and down, and sometimes I think God is not there. Is this normal behaviour?
Thank you so much for getting in touch with us with your honest question. Probably everyone has questions about the life experiences that God has allowed them to go through. This is not wrong - it is just human.
In fact, the ability to doubt and to ask questions is a gift of God, because if we did not question things, we would never find new truths or develop greater maturity. The opposite of doubt is not faith, but fanaticism. Faith comes when we face our honest questions and doubts about God and choose to believe Him and trust that His answers are the right ones.
Sometimes, we feel that God is unreal because we have never met or experienced Him for ourselves. The Bible says that God wants us to know Him and that we can do this through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God. (1 Peter 3:18)
The Bible also talks about the Holy Spirit who comes to live in us and reveal Jesus Christ to us. For example, Ephesians 1:13 says,
In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.
Have you ever received the gift of salvation and come to know Jesus Christ for yourself? Many people find new confidence and freedom from doubt when they receive this and begin to know the joy of God's presence in their lives. If you feel that you need to make sure that you have peace with God, then I encourage you to watch the video on the main part of our site: www.lookingforGod.com
True Christians also experience doubts, of course. Sometimes this is because we are not praying or studying the Bible and our spiritual life has dried up. Or it can be because we don't have fellowship with other Christians; perhaps we don't - or can't - attend church. We all need like-minded friends and spiritual support and it can be very lonely without that.
There are other reasons for doubt, too. We may wonder why God allows certain things to happen. Depression can be another cause of doubt, especially if spend too much time alone, or are unwell.
In Mark 9, a father brought his son to Jesus to be healed, saying,
"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 and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:22-24)
And Jesus healed his son. If we have doubts, we can ask Jesus to help us come to a greater degree of faith. That is the kind of prayer that He answers.
In summary, doubts come at some time to everyone. We need to take what measures we can to ensure that it is not because we are emotionally 'down' or because we have neglected our relationship with God. God is greater than our doubts and good is stronger than evil. The Bible promises us,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
In closing, I want to encourage you to involve yourself as much as possible with a local church. I hope you are fit enough to be able to do this. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another mature Christian whom you trust about the issue of doubt. I know they would be delighted to help you and to offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:
Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix to get in touch again if you need to do so. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life". (John 3:16)
- Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:1)
- So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31)
*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
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