Ps Tan Hui Ru

Not a Case of Either-Or

Much of the world around us gives us only two choices: it’s either black or white, night or day, right or left, up or down. And with that prompting from nature around us, we also think about our faith in this way: we either have faith, or we don’t; we either have doubts, or we don’t. There’s nothing wrong with these two statements of either-or, but the difficulty comes when we think about it as we either have faith, or we have doubts. And that makes it seem as if faith and doubts cannot co-exist in the same space at the same time.

But what is faith? Hebrews 11:1 says, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” – in other words, faith trusts that what has not come to pass yet, will. And precisely because it has not yet come to pass, there is space for doubts to exist in this same space. Yet even though doubts may be present, doubts do not exclude faith, because that is when we make the decision to trust, anyway. In fact, if having doubts excludes faith, then we will not see references to those with weak faith in the Bible, because one who does not have any doubts whatsoever is one who does not need to have faith. All Christians need faith – even those who knew as fact with 100% certainty that Jesus died and rose again and ascended also needed faith that Jesus would return.

The difficulty for Christians is not that we have doubts, it is instead what we do with those doubts. And what we should do with those doubts is to follow the example of the father in Mark 9:24 and bring it to Jesus in faith, saying “I believe!” and asking Jesus to “help my unbelief!” Having faith is not a case of having no doubts; having faith means trusting Jesus to be able to deal with your uncertainty, having faith means that even though you have doubts, you still choose Jesus.

And we have a great high priest who is able to sympathise with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15), weaknesses that include doubt. So let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Having faith does not mean not having doubts. Having doubts does not mean not having faith. When we doubt, therefore, instead of running from Jesus, we need to run to Jesus, we need to bring our doubts to him and tell him – I have faith, but here is my doubt, help me with this. It is never a case of either faith or doubts, but a case of faith although doubts.