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Amanda writes, “I am doubting God.  I have major health anxiety and when I feel one bit of discomfort I flip out.  I’m on week 3 of a painful area and have prayed to God numerous times to please take my pain away or to even give me a break from it.  If God loves us and has the power to heal, why doesn’t he?  I never ever hear God and have prayed to hear him and that never was answered either.  Maybe he isn’t real?”

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Amanda, thanks so much for your post on our Room For Doubt website. I’m so sorry to hear about your challenges and frustrations, but I greatly appreciate your honesty about your anxieties and doubts. I’m sure your experiences go much deeper than you actually expressed in your comments, but here are some considerations that might help some.

First, if you already have some health anxieties, it’s likely that these are contributing to your uncertainties and doubts about God. This does not make your doubts about God any less real, but it’s important to see that the source of some of your doubts about God may actually come from more general anxieties and doubts about many things and not from God’s seeming lack of response to your circumstances.

Second, sometimes our doubts about God are based on our perceptions of God and our expectations of what we think God should do. A problem with this is that our perceptions of God may be different from the way Scripture actually describes God. For example, we may think that if God really loves us and has the power to heal us, then God would heal us—He should heal us. And if we don’t experience God’s healing, then we may question God’s character and even His existence.

However, Scripture is filled with examples of people who strongly believed in God and His power but who continued to face all kinds of trouble and pain. Many of the psalms express David’s struggles. Job is also a prime example of someone who experienced many tragedies in spite of his belief in God. The apostle Paul faced many trials and anxieties (2 Cor. 11:24-28) and he even persistently prayed for a “thorn in the flesh” to be taken away, but it was not (2 Cor. 12:7). Jesus himself prayed that his cup of suffering (his coming crucifixion) would be taken away, but it was not (Matt. 26:39; Mark 14:36).

The point is this: While God may graciously act in particular ways to heal us or improve our situation, the Bible does not portray the loving and powerful God as someone who should necessarily be expected to solve our specific problems or pain. What it does emphasize is God’s constant care for us and His ongoing presence with us. Peter reminds us to cast all of our anxieties on God, because “he cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:6-8). Paul testifies about his “thorn in the flesh” that the Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Scripture also reminds us of God’s eternal plan that will eventually eliminate pain, tears, and death itself (e.g., Rev. 21:1-4).

Third, it’s important to remember what God has already done for you. This can be applied in a general sense: God’s love has provided an ultimate resolution to life’s problems and pain. It can also be applied in a more specific sense: God loves you and has offered you his forgiveness and the empowering presence of his Holy Spirit. It is this “new life” in Christ that gives us a sense of victory in spite of our weaknesses and even our painful circumstances (see Rom. 8:31-39).

Fourth, I would recommend that you read through the book of Psalms and the Scriptures I’ve mentioned here. Perhaps you will discover that God’s “answers” will be more obvious when you listen directly to his Word and apply it to your own situation. I would also suggest that you look at these two articles. Hopefully, you will find some insights there as well.

Now I don’t want to suggest that any of this somehow magically eliminates our dreadful experiences. We still face tough psychological, emotional, intellectual, and physical challenges. But the grace and strength of God make it possible to face these challenges with him instead of facing them alone. And only God offers an ultimate solution. Without God, what we encounter in life is “just the way it is.” There is no explanation, no eventual resolution, and no hope. As one atheist puts it, “The love of stories comes to us in a package that also includes the illusion of free will, the fiction of an enduring self, and the myth of human purpose. A scientistic worldview has to give up all of that…. So, individual human life is meaningless, without a purpose, and without ultimate moral value” (Alex Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality).
Especially in light of the wide range of evidence for God, I have much more confidence, and consolation, in what the Christian faith provides than any other alternative.
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Dr. Rich Knopp, Program Director, Room For Doubt; Professor of Philosophy & Christian Apologetics, Lincoln Christian University.
Rich Knopp

Rich Knopp

Program Director of Room For Doubt and the presenter for Room For Doubt’s seminars and workshops at conventions, conferences, colleges, Christian camps, and churches. He provides and manages the content on the R4D website and mobile app and writes the scripts for the program’s animated videos.