I'm not sure how I'm able to express this topic properly, mainly it's because I'm not too sure what are the right words. I'm currently 20 years old, in university. With a new environment, doubts tend to grow especially when you have faith.
Coming from years with a Christian upbringing, and then all of a sudden, staying in an apartment without a family, and to embark on a journey alone can be quite, dare I say it, challenging to one's faith. Imagine, all of a sudden, you're no longer surrounded by people who shares your values and beliefs. Instead, the number of people you meet and communicate with want to debate with you and tell you you're wrong. It's even harder when they insist that your faith is stupid. Or apparently, going to church every Sunday makes me "Very Religious like Mother Mary" (I'm not a Catholic, just-so-you-know) or a "Jesus freak" (I don't preach).
Once I'm alone, I realized that nobody is going to tell me when to pray. No one around me is going to have all the answers, the answers are all in the Bible, the past, the future, and present. That means I'll have to make a conscious effort to go spend learn God's word on my own. I have to remind myself to pray more often, take more time to reconnect. And if I'm struggling, I should contact someone from my church, do some research, find what gives me a reason to keep trying, to keep growing, to keep the faith.
Also, one thing I notice in my university too are campus preachers; the ones who yell, curse your actions, and demand you repent: I highly doubt they are any more righteous than me neither are they true ambassadors of any faith. Anyone who is truly faithful in any faith will tell you that the way they act is not what we are about. Seeing these "preachers" makes me want to remind myself that I shouldn't be like them. They are not carrying out a true representation of any of our values. It's sad when they can sometimes make you feel ashamed, but they should serve as a reminder that God does not want us to shy away from our faith and the truth of what we know.
As Christians, it is a common misconception that we should not question our faith or have doubts. However, in doing this, we often find that our faith can be more deeply rooted if we expand on it instead of simply hiding behind it. I may be biased (I'm taking two philosophical courses), but I believe that questioning our beliefs can often allow us to understand them in a more genuine way. As believers, we need to come to terms with the fact that we can't have perfect faith in God all the time. We are human, and we tend to doubt nearly everything: the weatherman, politicians (especially those), and even our most trusted friends and family. What I am saying is, even though many may not agree, it is okay to question God.
Pre-crucifixion, Jesus experienced the most severe anxiety-ridden moment of his life. What laid before Him would be the biggest test of faith in history. One thing Christians tend to do is take Jesus's sacrifice for granted. We know that He died an agonizing death, but we don't often take the psychological effect into account. Take a look through His eyes for a minute. When praying in the garden of Gethsemane, He became so terrified that he sweat blood. Jesus knew that the death he was about to die would be excruciating, and He pleaded with God to not let him go through with it. Though our worries are not near the caliber of Jesus's, we can find comfort in the fact that we have all questioned God's plan for us.
While on the cross, Jesus cried "My God, my God, why hath thou forsaken me?" That split-second of doubt is, to me, one of His most tragically beautiful moments. Jesus showed that, while he was one with God, that he was also human too. He was going through the lowest point of his life and felt completely abandoned by God. I know that, at times, many of us feel that way as well. We wonder where God is when one of our loved ones dies or when we are going through a bad breakup. Where is my God when I am suffering? Where is He when I am alone and hurting? Even now, I sometimes ask myself this question.
While it's alright to ask God the "why" questions, straying from your beliefs is not. It's easy to get caught up in wonder and the what-ifs. Having faith is one of the most difficult things a person can do. To become a Christian, you must believe in God and that He sent His son to die for our sins. But faith doesn't stop there. You must rely on Him for everything, and this is something I struggle with to this day. As I have become accustomed to the college life, I have often wanted to feel independence- to prove that I can take care of myself.
Nothing goes right if you don't have God (or not for long that is). That doesn't mean, however, that everything will be perfect with God either. We must face tribulation after tribulation, heartache after heartache. The key here is to run to God, not away from Him. This is where we go wrong. God is one of the first ones we place the blame on when something goes wrong, and why would we go to Him if he allows horrible things to happen to us in the first place? This is the question that I can never seem to answer. When we feel like God has failed us (some audacity we have, huh?), we try to take care of the problem on our own, but usually, we dig ourselves into a deeper hole.
There's no such thing as perfect faith. We all fall short of God's glory. I believe that faith is the hardest thing to muster in bad situations. I'm not writing this article to tell you that my faith doesn't falter at times or that I am always in line with God's plan because I'm not. I'm writing to let the whole world know that I am not perfect, and neither is my faith. I struggle, and I am hesitant. I doubt, and I question. Jesus's brief moment of doubt is helping to fuel the fire behind my faith. As I read through some of the stories that I included in this article, I began to truly understand the magnitude of Jesus's sacrifice.
The little wrinkle in time that He questioned his own father made me realize that I had a deeper connection with Jesus than I ever thought before because I have done the same thing countless times. I can say that I relate to Jesus on a human level. I never thought about it this way before, and now that I have, there's no going back. In the two hours that it has taken me to write this article, I have explored my faith deeper than I ever have before, and I feel overjoyed for the first time in months. I truly hope that my doubt can help grow your faith, as Jesus's doubt saved mine.