Why Did God Make Me? Finding (and Doubting) Your Purpose

Why Did God Make Me? Finding (and Doubting) Your Purpose

God has created each of us for a purpose, yet the very nature of God's engagement with this world - through mysterious and confusing uses of his power - often leads us wondering if we're totally out of step with what God is doing in us and through us.

I usually tell God that if I only knew what he was up to, I'd be good to go. But unless I think I'm a better person than people like John the Baptist and Esther, I'm probably just fooling myself. 

Let me explain...

But What If Christianity Is Wrong?

But What If Christianity Is Wrong?

Deciding what religion (if any) to adhere to seems like a risky proposition.

I mean, what if you don’t pick the right one? If you pick the wrong one, does everyone else basically get to hear the losing horn from “Price is Right” in the afterlife — if there is one?

I happen to be a follower of Jesus, and I really do believe the things He says about God and the nature of reality. I have found a fullness of life which I simply didn’t have before making the choice to believe in Jesus. I’m never going back.

But if you are not currently a follower of Jesus, I can totally understand why you might hesitate to make a commitment. So allow me to consider what it means if people who take Jesus at His word are just flat out wrong.

Is God Mad At Me When I Doubt?

So there’s this story in the bible I like a lot. It’s recorded in the book of Mark if you want to read it for yourself, but here’s the gist:

Jesus has been up on a mountain praying, away from the crowds that follow him everywhere. He comes down the mountain to find a chaotic scene.

A father who has a son with some serious issues has been asking Jesus’ disciples to heal the kid. The disciples have tried and failed.

The father brings the kid over to Jesus and I’m going to let what Mark wrote tell the next couple parts here:

(The Dad says to Jesus)  “Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

Jesus then punched him in the gut and said, ‘Come back when you don’t have any more unbelief, chump.” Then he rolled out with his posse.

In case you aren’t sure, I made that last part up. What actually happens is that Jesus heals the kid who suffered by major seizures and gave him back to his dad.

The father in that story is one of my heroes and I don’t even know his name.

Is It Wrong to Doubt God?

Over the course of the last year, I have had a hard time trying to figure out what God’s plan for me is. Honestly, it’s been disheartening. Because the more I’ve tried to hear God’s input on this topic, the silence has only grown more deafening.

It’s frustrating. I have started to wonder why God doesn’t seem to care. In my head, I know God cares. But in my heart, I feel like David, when he said “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1)

Or again when he said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.” (Psalm 22:1-2)

Like Job, who said “Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?” (Job 3:23)

I used to push away doubts about whether God sees, whether he cares. Now, I’m embracing them. Not because I believe God is unseeing or uncaring, but because I believe it is part of the divine plan, that we are to wrestle with doubt…to struggle with it.

Jesus himself in the garden of Gethsemane is begging God to give him a way out of the impending events. On the cross itself, he echos the words David sang about being forsaken of God. (See Matthew 26-27)

Why do we believe doubt is faithlessness?

I understand that we can point to scriptures that say things like “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” (Luke 17:6)

And “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

With these scriptures, we make Jesus into an angry, scowling savior who can’t stand anyone who he so much as catches a whiff of doubt coming from. When Peter walks on water and then begins to sink, maybe Jesus is actually smiling when he says ”You of little faith…why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31) After all, Peter had just WALKED ON WATER. When’s the last time you did that?

Maybe after calming the storm on the lake, when he says to the disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40), Jesus isn’t saying that faith and doubt are unable to co-exist. Maybe he’s saying to have faithdespite your doubt and fear. In addition to it.

One of my personal heroes in the bible is the man who came to Jesus and asked him to cast a demon out of his son. The man asked Jesus to help “if he could”. Jesus responds by putting this back to the man: “If you can?…Everything is possible for him who believes.”

The man’s response? “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

This guy clearly doubts. Anybody can see that. He’s grasping at any straws he can to help his son.  But Jesus sees that along with doubt, he also is determined to believe. To have faith that his son can be made well.  Jesus then makes his son well.

I know God is good. I know he cares. I know he has a plan for me. But sometimes I doubt it. Sometimes I ask God to help me ‘if he can’.

Rather than try to hide my doubt from him, I try to be honest. I don’t keep it locked in some dark closet that nobody can ever know about, pretending it doesn’t exist. I let it out. Because I do believe, and I need help with my unbelief.