I grew up believing that believers are not allowed to complain to God concerning horrific and ambiguous events. For God is sovereign. He is omniscient. He is the source of all wisdom. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than you ways and my thoughts than your thoughts,” declares the Lord through the prophet Isaiah (55:9, ESV). In short, I came to believe that I just need to shut up and believe that everything is going to be okay. That’s it!
However, as I look into the characters from the Bible, I see the exact opposite. “Why did I not die at birth, come out from the womb and expire?” cried Job, whom ironically God referred to be a blameless and an upright man (c.f., Job 3:11, 1:8, ESV). “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” cried David, whom we understood to be “a man after his own heart” (c.f., Ps. 13:1; 1 Sam. 13:14, ESV). “How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save?” cried the prophet Habakkuk (Hab. 1:2, NIV). Or as what the prophet Jeremiah whined, “O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me” (Jer. 20:7, ESV). These people complained and questioned God’s providence and intervention. And to be honest, I usually find myself in their companion.
In result of those verses, my presumption that God cannot handle my doubts began to shatter. The idea that God must be upset when I face doubts, had caused a lot of damage, instead of cultivating my faith. It has caused me a lot pretensions, appearing to have more faith when I don’t. The Scripture, however, is replete with stories of doubts and inadequacies, which in the end resulted in the recognition of God’s sovereignty in handling the misgivings of his people. That of course is grace.
The emphasis, I realized, is never on the believers’ unflinching faith (or the lack thereof), but on God sustaining the faith of his people as they wrestle with their doubts. For faith is not the absence of doubt, but a continuous wrestle with doubt. Fixing our eyes “to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2, ESV). And as the apostle Paul wrote, that even “if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim. 2:13, ESV).
This character of God gives me the assurance that he can handle and is not overwhelmed by my doubts. That I can be honest and authentic in my prayers.