Over steaming mugs of hot chocolate on a crisp fall day, I told a friend of mine that I’d started going to church again. He stopped blowing on his cocoa and looked at me, shocked. It had been many years since I’d shunned the church, not wanting to be a part of any organization that tried to tell me how to live my life. I still believed in God, but everything else had become questionable.
“You studied the Bible in college, didn’t you?” he asked.
“Yes, but I didn’t really pay much attention then.” So much for hoping he would say, “Oh, that’s nice,” and move on to something else.
“But you must know that all that stuff in the Bible is nonsense. How could someone as smart as you believe all of that?” I was flustered, as the rationalizations tumbled through my lips, gradually becoming petulant defenses. Seeing my discomfort, my friend finally changed the subject.
The whole encounter frightened me. Whenever people raised objections or started pointing out alleged contradictions in the Bible, how would I respond? How could I, who knew so little of God’s Word, defend my beliefs? I was afraid of sounding ignorant. And the doubts friends and colleagues planted sometimes grew in my mind, casting shadows over my faith.
I was studying my Bible one night, and I kept coming back to this verse: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). Whenever I really want to understand what a Bible passage means, I look up the original meaning of the Hebrew or Greek words in my concordance. One of the ways “seek” is defined is “to worship.” Looking for God, both in the Word and in the world, is a form of worship to me. I want to understand Him and His ways, and be engaged, emotionally and mentally, by my faith.
However, faith doesn’t preclude doubt. I feel completely certain that God didn’t program my heart and mind to just blindly accept Him. He wanted me to search and find Him. After a lot of study and prayer, I finally decided that I could be an intelligent, inquisitive being, and still believe every word in the Bible is true.
And to me, that’s what faith is: a daily, conscious choice to believe in something, in spite of my doubts.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.