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I have been doubting my faith and feel distant from God. I question if he even exists. What can I do?
Thank you so much for your honesty in asking this question. Probably, every thinking person goes through times when they question their faith; life is often perplexing and God knows that we will struggle at times. Actually, questioning our faith from time to time keeps us growing and learning.
We need to remember that we are people of faith. People who never question their beliefs become fanatics, the kind of people who may want to punish or even kill those who disagree with them. It is easy to think of examples of religious fanaticism in the modern world! So continue your questions and look to God for answers. Just remember that God does not give proof. There are not many things in life that can be proven absolutely - and these are in the realms of maths and physics, when they exist at all. For important things such as whether we are loved by our family or by God, we rely on faith, based on evidence.
The Bible tells us to expect our faith to be tested.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:2-5)
In this passage, James goes on to tell us to ask in faith, without doubting. This seems very discouraging when we know that we are full of doubts. But we are in a walk of faith, in which we choose to believe. I believe from what you say that you know that God is calling you to make this choice, and in your heart you long to make a clear choice for God.
You also say that you feel distant from God and do not want to talk to Him. I suggest that this is at the root of your problems. I do not know whether you have had a bad experience or whether perhaps you have simply neglected to spend time with God until you no longer have the desire to do so. Sometimes, we blame God for not saving us from an upsetting experience and our anger, or our unforgiveness of others, is a barrier between us and God. Perhaps this is not true of you at all, but I suggest you ask yourself whether it could be the case. If so, you need to confess your feelings to God and ask Him to forgive you and help you to change.
If you have simply neglected Bible study and prayer, it can seem very difficult to come back. But none of us can live a victorious Christian life without regularly hearing from God and asking his help. If this is true of you, there is only one answer: set time aside and if the prospect of reading the Bible seems boring, read it anyway, having asked God to speak to you through it. If prayer seems hard and it doesn't feel like anyone's listening, start praying anyway. Doing this just once will make a big difference to you and will begin a process in your life by which you can be close to God again and know His spiritual freedom in your heart and mind.
When Peter tried to step out in faith and walk on water, his faith failed and he began to sink. Jesus knew this would happen, and knew that He could help Peter develop in faith through the experience.
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)
His touch rescued Peter and gave him renewed faith. Like the rest of us, Peter sometimes struggled with doubt, but the presence of the Master filled him with faith again. Living the Christian life can sometimes seem a bit like walking on water, but we are rescued by experiencing the presence of Jesus in our times of prayer and study.
Do not quench the Spirit....but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:19, 21-24)
As to your specific doubts and questions, we base our faith on real facts and good evidence. There are real reasons for believing that the Bible is true and that Jesus died and rose again. You can educate yourself about these reasons and, if you wish, message us again about them. However, your real problem is your need to draw near to God once again and know the flow of His Spirit and His truth in your life.
In summary, doubt is inevitable and can be a spur to make us grow. We need to choose faith in the midst of doubt and keep the lines of communication open with God and also with other Christians. God knows our difficulties and has a plan to deal with them.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8)
I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: www.lookingforGod.com
In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:
Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. 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:
Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. (Jude 1:21)
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 11:1-3)
"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." (Matthew 21:22)
*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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