Debate and Faith

There are those who say faith means you never doubt.  Those who live by the creed, “Don’t ask questions!”

But I say faith is exactly what you cling to in the margins of doubt–when you have exhausted all the possibilities that exist in the physical, you-can-touch-it world and yet you KNOW there is MORE.

Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].

Hebrews 11:1 AMP

Questions are how you mark the borders of what you know and find the edges of what you don’t.

This week I judged a high school debate.  It took me back over a decade to the time and place my own children were competing in tournaments.  As I watched the eager and earnest faces of these young adults, I remembered the equally eager and earnest face of Dominic.

He was always passionate about a debate.

Not so much the formal ones–he was on the tail-end of our family’s participation in that scene–but the kind you have around the dinner table and the campfire.  He did not like to lose.  But more importantly, he would not tolerate sloppy thinking or lousy logic.

And I hear his voice in these months after his death challenging me to think critically and work carefully through my doubts and my feelings about life, about death, about grief and about eternity.

When we discussed Scripture, or politics, or lifestyle, or the intersection of all three, Dominic would often be the one digging deeper, looking longer at the hand-me-down Bible verses used to proclaim and prop up popular points of view.  He asked, “Why?” and “Why not?” The six of us spent hours talking (sometimes arguing)–passionately defending our own understanding and interpretations.

All of my children are critical thinkers.  And I am grateful for this.

I don’t want to raise a generation that accepts without comment the thoughts and actions of the generation before.

Isn’t that part of what blinded the Pharisees and Saducees to the Presence of Messiah in their midst?  They clung desperately to what they thought they knew, all the time missing the very revelation of God they craved.

So, in honor of Dominic, I will allow myself the time, the energy and the space to wrestle with my questions.  I will search the Scriptures.  I will ask God for insight.  I will push back against the knee-jerk reactions and answers that come too easily and offer a false sense of closure.

God is not threatened by my wondering.  His throne is in no danger due to my queries.

It is most often other believers who find the questions unsettling.

I don’t want or expect to have the last word.  I believe that belongs to the Creator of the Universe.  But I think He will hear my plea.

In my trouble I called to the Lord. I cried out to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice. My call for help reached his ears.

Psalm 18:6 ICB




Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

8 thoughts on “Debate and Faith”

  1. I don’t know if you still read these comments so many years later, but I would like to thank you for resposting these older blog posts. I lost my only son in a car accident 36 days ago at the age of 19. He, like your Dominic was homeschooled, was a critical thinker, loved dinnertime debates and formal logic. My Noah was a journaler, and for that I am so thankful! He didn’t share his feelings or what he was going through, or even where his heart was spiritually (though he knew and would debate theology fiercely). Since his death, his journals, lists and notebooks have been such a comfort and blessing to us. One of his new years resolutions for 2019 was “to know God and make Him known.” My heart still breaks, but God showed us so much grace by allowing us this window until we see him again.

    Thank you again for your posts, they are like water in the desert to me. You so eloquently put to words my very thoughts about so many topics. May God bless you as you continue to miss your boy, and look forward to seeing him in Glory as I do mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so helpful to me…and was originally posted on my beautiful son’s 21st birthday. Only God knew that just 3 months and 8 days later he would be taken from us and I would be left in a heap, dazed and confused, heart ripped from my chest, clinging to faith as if my life depends on it…because it does.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so very sorry Stacy. It is hard and there’s no way around it being hard. I’m thankful this is helpfu to you. Praying that the Lord will give you the strength you need for each day.


  3. Reblogged this on Boxx Banter and commented:
    Everything Melanie says resonates within me, but I love this post because, well, it resonates within me! She loves the Lord, she clings to Him as she wrestles with faith and doubt.

    Take time to read this post, and scroll through her past posts as well. While the things she and I write about have often been birthed by loss, the issues she addresses cross over into so many other areas of life. She’s been a student of the Bible for a long time and just has so much to offer. Pull up a chair and soak up her hard earned wisdom!


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