The mere acknowledgment to yourself that you have doubts, can often result in even more doubts, and lead you down a dark road full of questions and fear.
You start wondering if you truly believe like you thought you did, and are you really saved like you thought you were.
Which leads to anxiety. Which leads to more doubt.
Which leads to more anxiety and more doubt. Round and round we go!
What’s important to remember during that not so fun merry-go-round ride though, is that doubt is of the enemy.
It’s one of his fave tricks in fact.
Along with fear, worry, anxiety, and all those other unproductive emotions that really don’t serve any purpose other than to derail your walk with God and make your life “feel” as miserable and hopeless as possible.
So What’s a Gal (or Guy) to Do When Doubt Debuts?
A good first step is to acknowledge the fact that you’re only human, and that in the same way you’re blessed with the ability to feel things like love and compassion… you’re also cursed to suffer from things like fear and doubt.
If you allow them to take root and burrow, that is.
Like any other fellow human, we all have doubts from time to time. In fact we all have doubts about many things, not just questions about God or beliefs.
Heck, I even have doubts about my choice of coffee in the morning… maybe I should have had a different flavor instead!
Of course doubts about your faith and beliefs and God are a wee larger than coffee questions, but that’s OK.
What’s really comforting is that you and I aren’t the only ones who sometimes had doubts about God.
Just take a look at how many times God needed to provide signs to the people of the Bible, attempting to show them He was the one and only true God.
In fact, Gideon asked God for a first sign, STILL doubted, and then requested another, and then another.
Judges 6:13 Gideon replied, ‘Excuse me, my lord, but if Yahweh is with us, why is all this happening to us? And where are all his miracles which our ancestors used to tell us about when they said, “Did not Yahweh bring us out of Egypt?” But now Yahweh has deserted us; he has abandoned us to Midian.’
Did his doubts mean Gideon didn’t believe, or that he was faithless?
His belief may have faltered somewhat, but He did the smart thing and just asked to God firm it back up.
Judges 6:17 Gideon said, ‘If I have found favour in your sight, give me a sign that you are speaking to me.
His faith was weak, but made strong again by God.
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.
Gideon went on to attack an army, did so with a mere 300 men by his side, and ultimately this was so none could doubt His victory came from the Lord Himself.
Moses too had doubts, and thought himself incapable of the tasks assigned to him by God… and yet he went on to challenge the king of Egypt, and lead the Israelites to freedom.
Exodus 4:1-12 1 Moses replied as follows, ‘But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my words, and say to me, “Yahweh has not appeared to you”? 2 Yahweh then said, ‘What is that in your hand?’ ‘A staff,’ he said. 3 ‘Throw it on the ground,’ said Yahweh. Moses threw it on the ground; the staff turned into a snake and Moses recoiled from it. 4 Yahweh then said to Moses, ‘Reach out your hand and catch it by the tail.’ He reached out his hand, caught it, and in his hand it turned back into a staff. 5 ‘Thus they may believe that Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.’ 6 Next, Yahweh said to him, ‘Put your hand inside your tunic.’ He put his hand inside his tunic, then drew it out again: and his hand was diseased, white as snow. 7 Yahweh then said, ‘Put your hand back inside your tunic.’ He put his hand back inside his tunic and when he drew it out, there it was restored, just like the rest of his flesh. 8 ‘Even so: should they not believe you nor be convinced by the first sign, the second sign will convince them; 9 but should they not be convinced by either of these two signs and refuse to listen to what you say, you are to take some water from the River and pour it on the ground, and the water you have taken from the River will turn to blood on the dry land.’ 10 Moses said to Yahweh, ‘Please, my Lord, I have never been eloquent, even since you have spoken to your servant, for I am slow and hesitant of speech.’ 11 ‘Who gave a person a mouth?’ Yahweh said to him. ‘Who makes a person dumb or deaf, gives sight or makes blind? Is it not I, Yahweh? 12 Now go, I shall help you speak and instruct you what to say.’
God, Leaky Ships, Heaven- Say What?
Let’s play the analogy game.
Many (most?) ships have water that leaks into their hulls – yet they still all continue to function as expected. The secret lies in getting rid of the water as it comes in, and plugging the leaks where possible.
So as a Christian, think of yourself like a vessel en route to a final destination called Heaven. As long as you keep making progress, taking on a little water now and again isn’t too big a deal.
You just gotta get rid of it before it sinks the whole blessed ship!
Also you might keep in mind ships tend to take on more water when battling stormy weather.
Similarly, so we also tend to shoulder more feelings such as doubt, fear, and worry when things go wrong in our lives, and we feel like God isn’t listening or hearing our prayers.
That’s why it’s important to accept doubt for what it is… mere doubt.
A puny trick of the enemy.
Don’t let a transient feeling such as doubt continue to flood your proverbial ship, but instead start working to get rid of all that extra water as soon as possible.
The more you allow doubts to multiply without addressing them, the harder they become to eradicate. Ugly little suckers are like cockroaches.
It’s also really important not to keep your doubts and questions locked up inside… just like it’s a bad idea to bottle your emotions or not talk about things that bother you in other areas of life.
Talk to someone who is further along in their walk than you are, that you trust to lead you down the right path, who can help you navigate your doubts and questions, and lay them to rest.
It may be cliché, but you can’t deny the truth of it; a burden shared is a burden halved. Or if you prefer, a road traveled with a friend only feels half as long.
When you have someone helping you get rid of all the water your leaky lil ship keeps taking on, you’ll find the job to be a lot less daunting than always trying to slog through it alone.
And of course, first and foremost:
Give your doubts to God and let HIM help you find rest and peace.
He does it better than anyone else on this Earth ever can, will, or could, if you merely give Him the opportunity, the invitation.
Matthew 11:28 Come to me all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you.
Pray to God, confess all of your doubts and fears, and ask Him to give you clarity and wisdom, to help you progress on your journey of faith and in coming to know and trust in Him.
God knows your every weakness, and He knows your every burden. He will understand your very human doubts, and He will place someone in your life that will speak Truth into it, or He will place you in a situation that only leaves room for one answer… Him and Him alone.
I’d have to say, He’s pretty fracken good like that.
Over to You
Do you struggle sometimes with doubts in your faith and walk with God? It’s OK if you do. It’s only human. I’d love to hear how you handle it, or have handled it in the past, and how your faith has only grown from the process. Feel free to share in the comments below.