So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” Genesis 32:24-28
Jacob was a difficult man. He lied to his dad and he cheated his twin brother (Esau) of his birthright. And when he fought with God (or an angel), God not only blessed him but renamed him Israel—”He who struggles with God!”
If there was hope for Jacob (and there was a lot), there’s hope for me. Like Jacob, I struggle with things I don’t like. I get mad at God when things don’t go my way! And, more than anything else, I struggle with the “Why” questions: “If God is all powerful and all loving, why does He allow suffering?” I still haven’t found an answer that fully satisfies me, and I won’t pretend the answers I’ve heard do satisfy me. They don’t. And that leads to doubt.
In Bible studies, I think I make people uncomfortable. When everyone has agreed how meaningful a passage is and how wonderfully God has worked in their lives, I’m the one who ruins that moment of bliss with “But what about…”
Yes, I am familiar with the verse, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6) Some churches teach that if we doubt at all, even a little, that leads to the “slippery slope” of disbelief. But here’s the thing. I doubt. I question. I CAN’T NOT question, and I’m not satisfied with pat answers. I think too many people believe that “doubt=sin” and must be squelched. And certainly, letting your doubt drag you down is not good. But pretending we have no doubt is worse. If we don’t face it straight on, it sits there like that moldy tub of “something” in the fridge, and we have to keep pushing it to the back and ignoring the funky smell. I’ve chosen to accept my doubt, keep reading and praying, and admit that God will, in time, answer all our questions.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1