Throughout my early and my working life I never doubted God’s existence nor any of the truths of Christianity. What Paul could say of Timothy could be said of my upbringing. From a child I have known the holy Scriptures which are able to make us wise about salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. There was never a time when I did not believe the gospel, and I came to an assurance of my own salvation when I was twelve, through the ministry of the Rev. Glyn Owen, my pastor in Wrexham and the first editor of this magazine.
My faith in God and the truths of the Bible were heavily bombarded at university but through a nucleus of friends in the Christian Union we encouraged each other. Evangelical authors provided us with help over difficult issues relating to the Scriptures. Even when there were no answers available I still held fast, by God’s grace, to the truth of his Word. Further study relating particularly to the Hebrew Old Testament brought its own challenges, but in God’s goodness, I have been able to teach and preach totally believing that the Bible is God’s infallible and inerrant Word. I have been now officially retired for eight years but still fairly active in the church we attend and elsewhere.
But a little while ago, I was shocked by the doubts that would come into my mind concerning the very existence of God. I could not believe that such thoughts were there! The temptation was very real, especially at the time when I was wrestling with some issues relating to creation. I hasten to add that I did not cease to spend time with the Lord and his Word, particularly at the commencement of each day, and at no time did it prevent me from fulfilling my commitments to gospel work.
How did God help me overcome these doubts? I did try to dismiss them and not allow them to linger in my thinking. But what helped me the most were Paul’s words to Timothy where he is encouraging his young right-hand man to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. After giving examples from the world of military service, athletics and agriculture, Paul wrote this, ‘Remember Jesus Christ risen from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel,’ (2 Timothy 2:8). This verse spoke to me very powerfully, and it kept coming back to me time and again especially when the doubts were strong. The Jesus of history, who lived and died for us, is God’s promised Messiah and his bodily resurrection is the undeniable evidence of who he really is, and of the reality of the living and true God about whom all humanity knows yet seeks to suppress. Richard Dawkins and others like him do not want to examine the evidence that stares them in the face.
Do not think that long-standing Christians or Christian ministers are immune from such doubts. If the Lord was strongly attacked both at the commencement of his public ministry and right through to the time when he was on the cross, then be assured and prepared for devilish temptations that seem to come from nowhere. Keep a close walk with God and read his Word prayerfully and do not stop meeting with God’s people and hearing the gospel preached.