In my last few blogs posts, I have been wrestling with the question: What do we do when we have doubts about God? What do we do in those moments when we silently wonder, is this stuff really true? Most every Christ follower has moments where they experience these kinds of doubts. It’s a normal part of walking with Jesus. However, if these doubts go unacknowledged or if we try to ignore them by keeping busy, they can eventually eat away at our faith.
So what can we do when we have doubts about God? What I find helpful is to “reground” my soul in certain things that I know to be true—things that are very real evidences to me of God’s existence and His goodness. In the last three posts, I looked at three of these:
- The wonder of creation
- The plausibility of God’s story of humanity
- The Person of Jesus
In this post, I would like to offer a fourth evidence that helps strengthen my faith: My own experiences with God. As I look back on my journey with Jesus, there are certain moments where His Presence was so powerfully at work. Some were fairly dramatic—like the time when I was struggling with panic attacks and had gone to see a counselor in another city. During a free afternoon, I was in my room praying and decided to put on a worship tape (yes, that would be a cassette tape). As I listened to the words, I began to feel a powerful sensation in my entire body—it was like electricity. My heart was suddenly filled with joy and I began to laugh uncontrollably. This whole experience lasted several minutes and was such a profound experience of love and joy. It’s hard to put into words. I only know that I never had a panic attack after that afternoon.
While that is a fairly dramatic experience, there are other experiences that are less dramatic but just as powerful. Recently I was traveling with a friend who, during our trip, mentioned that he had been experiencing significant pain in his hand for a number of weeks. He was unable to tie his shoes and work on the computer. When we landed and were headed to baggage claim, I asked him if I could pray for healing. He said yes, so we stopped right there and prayed. It was a very brief prayer for healing. A few days later, he emailed me that his pain left completely after we prayed. His hand is now functioning normally. How cool! I wish I would see more frequent answers to healing prayer, but that instance was an encouraging reminder to me that God is alive.
I think not only of instances of healing but also of deliverance. There have been a few times in my ministry I have been a part of a prayer experience where demons manifest themselves in a person we were praying for. It is frightening to see evil in such a tangible way. What I find amazing is how these demons respond to the name and the authority of Jesus. They hate Him and yet are less powerful than He is. To see demons who have had influence for years in a person’s life, now coming out simply because we are praying in the name of Jesus….is an incredible evidence to me of the reality of Jesus’ power.
I am so thankful as well for the Holy Spirit who lives in me, and in every follower of Jesus. I often feel His presence and His love. I at times hear His voice in ways that result in wonderful ministry being released in someone’s life. I have no other explanation for this except that God is real. He is personal. He is loving. I have experienced Him and continue to experience Him in real ways.
I wish I could say that I always feel His presence, that I always see Him answer prayers in dramatic ways, that I always hear His voice…but that’s not the case. Paul described our current spiritual journey as “seeing in a mirror dimly”. We can see the reflection but it is not as clear as would hope. But, Paul adds, one day “we shall see face to face.” (I Corinthians 13:12) I can’t wait for that day. Until then, we hold on to what we know to be true about God. Even when circumstances scream at us that God isn’t paying attention, we hold on to Jesus.