Q: My boyfriend recently told me that he doesn’t know for sure if he believes in God. We both grow up as Christians. I am sure that God exists, but my boyfriend sees all the pain in this world and he has a hard time believing there’s a God who would let it happen. What can I do? I want to help him, but I also understand that this is something between him and God.
It can be so hard to watch someone we love doubt what we feel so strongly about. I can tell it weighs heavily on your heart, and I don’t blame you! This may not be an easy road, but hopefully having someone from the outside looking in will help you wade through the confusion and hurt.
Doubt isn’t the biggest enemy of faith, apathy is.
First, it’s totally okay to give your boyfriend time to wrestle with God. God is big enough to handle our doubts, fears, complaints, tears and even shrugged shoulders. The best thing you can do for your boyfriend is to let him know that he’s not crazy for doubting, and to encourage him to keep searching until he finds answers. Doubt isn’t the biggest enemy of faith, apathy is. When we stop caring and give up the hunt for truth, that’s when Satan is able to steal the little “seed” of faith we have (see Luke 8:12).
None of us feels great about seeing pain in this world—it’s frustrating and hard for all of us. God’s role in worldwide pain is a subject for another day, but for the moment, you can encourage your boyfriend to wrestle with God and keep looking for answers. (Stay tuned for some resources you can recommend to him.) Then pray that he finds answers that satisfy him.
You can offer to help your boyfriend look for answers, but it’s important for him to take an active part in it too. You’re absolutely right—your boyfriend’s faith is ultimately between him and God. That means it’s not your responsibility to provide all the answers for him, and you can’t take it personally if he doesn’t grab hold of the truth. If he turns away from the Lord for a time—or forever—you can’t blame yourself. There’s an old saying, “You can lead a camel to water, but you can’t make it drink.” In other words, you can be encouraging, kind, wise and loving, but you can’t make your boyfriend believe. You are only responsible for your own faith. Live in that freedom, being careful not to let his doubts sway your faith.
That brings to my third (and hardest) lil’ bit of advice: If your boyfriend denies his faith in the Lord, you just can’t follow, sis. At that point I’d strongly recommend you stick with the Lord and say goodbye to your boyfriend. Unequal faith is a deal breaker (here’s a post that explains why). Believe me—I don’t say that lightly because I know how hard that would be! But if the day comes, be prepared to choose who you will follow. It’s hard to choose between a boyfriend we care about and the Lord, but I have so much confidence that you’ll stand firm in what you know is right.
I promised to give you a few resources that you can give your boyfriend as he wrestles with God. This is just a place to start, but hopefully he’ll be open to checking them out:
I know it’s not easy, but you can be a calm, godly example to him while he wrestles, keeping in mind that in the long run you don’t want to be falling for someone who doesn’t have the type of relationship with God that you need in the man in your life. Be brave and stand strong, beautiful!