How Doubting God Helped Me Realize He Is Real

Welcome,
Today, I am honored to have as a guest a fellow Tribe writer and friend…
James Prescott…all the way from UK. 
James is a wonderful and inspiring writer who finds “divine hope in the messiness of life.”
His transparency, vulnerability, and longing for God, often identical to our own, strike a cord in the hearts of his readers.
Thank you, James, for accepting my invitation to post at my site.
A great friend and teacher you are, always blessing me with your words!
How Doubting God Helped Me Realize He Is Real

The summer of 2012 was a rough time in my relationship with God. There was one day in particular, where my inner anger and frustration with God, all my resentment, bitterness, envy, at my past and my circumstances now was boiling up inside.

 

It couldn’t quite be seen on the surface.

But it was there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tried to calmly reflect on this. As I thought it through I made it clear to God that there was no doubting my belief in Him.

 

Because there isn’t.

 

I don’t have any doubts about the existence of God, or that Jesus was exactly who He said He was and did the things described in scripture. That’s never been an issue at all. The dispute came because in my emotional pain I started to doubt God’s character, and how He felt about me.

 

That’s a very different thing. It can actually be annoying. Because sometimes a part of me wants to just walk away, but I can’t.

 

God is real, and it doesn’t matter what I think about that – I know, from reading, from knowledge, from my own experience, and from what I see in creation and the lives of myself and others, that He is real.

 

No doubt.

 

As I worked through this with God, in silent prayer, something became abundantly clear.

 

I knew I was in a real, living relationship, with a real God. This had gone beyond simply believing the right thing and doing the right thing, being obedient to some God in a faraway place.

 

Suddenly I was fully aware of a real person right next to me, within me and around me, interacting with me. By this I don’t mean I had any supernatural or emotional experience, but I just suddenly became aware of the reality of this relationship.

 

I finally felt like my faith wasn’t a comfort blanket. It wasn’t something I had to make me feel better about life or my eternal destiny.

 

This was a real, full-on relationship with a real God. Like all relationships, it wasn’t always easy, and never perfect. It involved wresting, discussion, and full-frank honest conversation.

 

As this became clear to me, the anger calmed somewhat. I knew this was just my inner child and insecurities crying out trying to take control of me. I’d found the strength to move beyond them.

 

As this happened, I found a more honest faith – even with the doubts and questions. Paradoxically, the more I doubted, the more I found myself having intimacy with God. Even though things weren’t perfect between us at the time, there was paradoxically more honesty and intimacy between us.

 

Strange how it works isn’t it? We often think we need to have it all together to have true intimacy with our creator. Truth is, it’s often when we’re at our weakest and most vulnerable we achieve true intimacy with God.

 

It reminded me of some of the main characters in scripture who truly wrestled with God – people like Job and Moses for example, and how even through that they discovered great intimacy with God – and were greatly used by Him.

 

How encouraging is that?

 

The questions, the doubting, the honest and frank exchanges with God – which we all have, let’s be honest – are not a bad thing. They are perfectly normal, in fact.

 

Indeed, they may be a sign that we’ve moved beyond a superficial, religious faith to a deeper, more honest and intimate relationship with a real God.

 

And isn’t that something we all want?

 

 

 

James Prescott is a writer & creative exploring how we find divine hope in the messiness of life. He blogs regularly at www.jamesprescott.co.uk and is a regular guest blogger for various sites. Follow him on Twitter at @JamesPrescott77 & on Facebook.

About the Author

Katina Vaselopulos

Originally from Greece, Katina Vaselopulos and her husband, have made their home in Chicago for the past 47 years. Their four children and nine grandchildren offer countless adventures. Katina also enjoys cooking and baking, teaching and learning, reading and writing. Her soon-to-be-published book, Sailing Toward Ithaca, takes the reader on a journey through one year of her life. She invites the readers along, to sail through life’s journey open to all possibilities and to nurture relationships with self, others, and God by striving for self-knowledge and inner growth. Other projects include What Is Cooking in Niles, a cookbook of Greek cuisine, and a thesis, “Dostoyevsky’s Major Novels: Polemics against Liberal Thought,” for which she received high honors at Northeastern University of Illinois.

Comments

  1. James,

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring words, for opening your soul to us.

    I have often wondered if others go through the same doubts I went or do they unquestionably know God from the beginning and always?

    I see now that we both have found divine hope through the hardships and doubting stages of life. If we did, probably others have as well.

    What a great gift this is! An immense responsibility as well!

    God bless, James

    • Thanks Katina – great to be able to post here, thanks for letting me share. Glad it was able to inspire you. :-)

  2. Katina,

    Glad you had this post on your site. Very encouraging, James. I especially liked, “Truth is, it’s often when we’re at our weakest and most vulnerable we achieve true intimacy with God.”

    When we are at our weakest we are open to seeing Him who is all power and all strength.

    Thanks, James. A good reminder.

    • Anne,

      Thank you again for visiting. I appreciate your support.

      It is an honor to have James here. The sentence you pick says a lot. I found that to be true in my own worse hardships of life.

      I often wonder though but still cannot accept that God puts us in that place so we turn to Him. I believe that Life and our own thoughts or behaviors place us in that position, between hard rock and God. Humbeld and nearly crushed, we choose God, and He gladly picks up the pieces and makes us whole again.

      What we do afterwards, is the big challenge!

    • Thanks for the comment and encouragement Anne – really appreciate it. Glad the post encouraged you, think it’s important we remember we’re never really alone in our experiences. Thanks again.

  3. I love that Jeff Goins has given us Tribe Writers to help build such an awe-inspiring community. Katina, your forum is a wonderful site to help fortify us, and hearing James’ journey just reinforces your message. Thanks to you both for this post.

    • Stacy, how right you are!
      We are trully blessed to learn, grow, share, and depend on each other in this great community that Jeff created for us. I am grateful that God brought us together here.

      Thank you for visiting! Glad you enjoyed James’s inspiring post. Because I also have come closer to God through doubt, I can relate to James so much.

      Thanks for your encouragement! It means a lot.
      Blessings always!

    • Thanks Staci – agree the Tribe Writers community is truly amazing. Thanks for your comment and encouragement, really appreciate it! :-)

  4. Thanks for sharing James’ post, Katina! Appreciate your openness James. Agreeing with you struggling with doubts isn’t always a bad thing, in fact it often leads us to a “more honest and intimate relationship with a real God.” God bless you, fellow Tribers!

    • Maria,

      Thanks for visiting! I am glad you enjoyed James’ post.

      His “openess” does draw us in…

      Realizing that we too have gone through the same doubt, we too have been faced with hardships and brought to our knees, we understand and feel for others. As we connect to their pains and joys, we access the compassion of our heart and tapp into our own inner wisdom, connecting with the God within, who will lift us up and strengthen us to handle similar situations whenever they rise.

      I am blessed and honored to be in this Tribe…Looking forward to get closer with everyone!

      Blessings to you, Maria, and all

    • No problem Maria – think it’s important to be honest, with ourselves and others. Helps us grow. Really encouraged the post was helpful, thanks again. :-)

  5. Wonderful Post! lmc

  6. Thanks everyone who has commented for your incredible encouraging words, really do appreciate all of them. Love the Tribe Writers community and how we all encourage and support one another. Thankful for all of you. Be very blessed!

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