A person walks a prayer labyrinth on the beach and gains confidence to confront challenges to faith.

How to Confront Challenges to Faith with Confidence 

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My youngest son was 5 when he posed a head-scratching question packed with profound curiosity. “If God wasn’t real, would the world not be made?” I doubt he was presenting challenges to faith, questioning God’s existence or pondering what the world would look like without atoms. Most likely, it was just a random thought that entered his brain in between thoughts about dinosaurs and donuts.  

He’s not the first kid in my family to ask faith-centric questions. My oldest son once asked, “Dad, will dinosaurs be in heaven?” (I think they will). My middle son once inquired, “If people believed in Jesus and died before Jesus ascended into heaven, where did they go?” (My answer: heaven.) 

Children are good at asking questions about life’s big ideas. Adults are, too. Questions engage our minds and, hopefully, deepen our beliefs.  

But what happens when questions about our faith turn into skepticism? Or when we hear a question from an atheist, an agonistic or—let’s be honest—an online troll that troubles our soul? Or when seeds of doubt grow into a forest of uncertainty? 

In other words, how can we confront challenges to faith with confidence?  

Here are five reasons you can rest easy at night knowing that your foundation is rock solid: 

You’re Not the First Christian with Doubts 

You’ve probably heard of Thomas. He walked and talked with Jesus. He saw Him perform miracles. But when push came to shove, Thomas was a skeptic. Told by the disciples that they had seen Jesus risen from the dead, Thomas replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). 

Then there’s Peter, one of Jesus’ three closest friends. When he walked on the water with Christ, his faith waned. He sank. When Jesus was arrested, Peter denied Him three times.  

Thomas and Peter weren’t the only ones. Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples went to a Galilean mountain, where they met and worshiped Him. But … “some doubted” (Matthew 28:17). Ponder that for a moment: Some of the disciples doubted Jesus even after they saw Him risen from the dead! 

You’re in good company.  

Hands raised with questions in a classroom remind us to confront challenges to faith with confidence.

God Welcomes Your Questions  

Consider that Jesus responded to the disciples’ doubts with patience.  

Jesus didn’t scorn Thomas when the two finally met. Instead, Jesus told Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas responded, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:24-28). 

Jesus didn’t scorn Peter, either. Instead, He elevated him, making Peter a leader in the early church (Acts 2).   

They’re not the only ones. Moses questioned God. David did, too.  

God is a loving parent who invites you into His big lap for a warm conversation about life. He’s ready to listen.    

Christianity Has Survived the Test  

Christianity isn’t like a new invention that may break once it’s placed under stress. Jesus ascended to heaven some 2,000 years ago. King David took the throne 3,000 years ago. Abraham walked the land of Ur approximately 4,000 years ago. 

Your faith is older than any nation on the planet. It existed before the Romans, before the Greeks. Your faith is—literally—older than dirt. You can confront challenges to faith with confidence knowing that thousands of years of history support it. 

Every question about and critique of Christianity has been asked and confronted by millions of people through the centuries. They wrestled with them and debated them. They had many sleepless nights over them.  

Their faith persevered. Christianity has withstood the test of time.  

Tradition says 11 of the 12 apostles died a martyr’s death. They saw, first-hand, Christ defeat the grave. And they refused to recant.  

No one knowingly dies for a lie. The disciples knew they had seen the Truth.  

An open Bible on a wooden table helps you answer challenges to faith.

Answers are Available for Challenges to Faith 

I once read of a semi-famous Christian who recanted because he was troubled by the problem of evil. Really? That’s a question my sixth-grade son could answer.  

Some of the greatest thinkers in world history were Christians. Individuals like Athanasius, Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Luther, Newton, Pascal and C.S. Lewis. Some of the greatest heroes of history were, too: Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer, Harriet Tubman and Corrie ten Boom.  

Christians started the first hospitals. The first universities, too. And the first orphanages.  

Here is the point: Christians throughout the centuries didn’t shy away from challenges to faith, tough questions, and difficult issues. They tackled them head-on with courage—and they found their answers.    

“There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). That’s true for questions, too.  

Don’t let doubt drown your faith. Dig for answers to your questions. (GotQuestions.org is my go-to.) Buy a book. Ask a pastor or a seasoned believer for a resource. They are out there.   

It’s OK to Embrace the Unknown 

The Bible provides answers to many of our challenges to faith. Some questions, though, are not addressed. For example: How can God be three persons? Where is heaven? How can Jesus be fully God and fully man?  

If God could be explained easily … then He wouldn’t be God.  

Facts will only get us so far. At some point, we must have faith. We must trust that God is who He says He is.  

Billy Graham, the renowned evangelist, faced a crisis of faith early in his ministry, as men all around him were abandoning the faith. One night he walked into the California woods and prayed to God: “There are many things in this Book I do not understand. … Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word—by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word!” 

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1). 

God wants you to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Hebrews 12:2). He also wants you to “walk by faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Confront challenges to faith with confidence as you learn that you don’t have to have all the answers, because then it wouldn’t be called faith. 

Further Reflection on Challenges to Faith

Listen now to a short segment of this Abide meditation based on John 20:27 and the story of doubting Thomas. Let God speak to your heart about how to confront challenges to faith with confidence.

For more help to confront challenges to faith with confidence, download the Abide app. Our more than 1500 guided biblical meditations all exist to help you grow closer to God. Use this link for 25% off a premium subscription. 

Michael Foust is the father of four young children and the husband of an amazing wife, Julie. He’s written for the Toronto Star, the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Christianity Today, and Crosswalk.  

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