Dealing with doubt.
Doubt. What a weakening word. Yet, if we’re honest, we’ve all had doubts about faith.
Especially when hope languishes and no answers emerge to soften suffering. When doubt hovers like a dank fog and fear churns through our heart. When unanswered questions leech faith from our mind. Sometimes the sheer weariness of it wears away our confidence in God’s loving care.
And we begin to wonder if our faith is a mirage, a fabrication of our wishful thinking.
Sure, we know there are times of testing, of development and maturing, seasons of deepening, absolutely. Yet, sometimes don’t even those “explanations” fall short in the face of prolonged distress?
And what about the “silent” times? When the only sound we hear are the question marks tumbling inside our head?
I’ve been thinking about these types of questions and how God uses them to strip us of glib answers and canned responses; how they lead us to consider some hard questions; how they force me to confess my fears and doubts to God–to myself.
What do these “pockets” of silence and unmet needs mean? Does God expect us to follow Him in the big picture yet hash out the details ourselves? And if He is involved in the details, does that mean He will do something about them? Something that will help us at the time–at that moment–not years later?
Sometimes these questions prey upon my mind as I consider the volume and depth of the needs of my fellow believers. And doubt creeps in…
…and faith peters out.
So one morning, after a night battling doubt in God’s loving care, I picked up my Bible and turned to my daily Scripture reading. This is what God had waiting for me:
“You saw the suffering of our forefathers in Egypt…you heard their cry. You sent signs and wonders… You divided the sea before them…you hurled their pursuers into the depths…you led them…you gave them bread from heaven…you brought them water from the rock…” (Nehemiah 9:9-15, NIV)
On and on it went, God’s bountiful loving care for His people spilling over the pages of Scripture. And from that brimming pool, God spoke to my heart, “I see. I hear. I act on behalf of My people.”
God saw my need, heard my cry, and chose that morning to set my feet on the firm ground of Nehemiah 9:9-15.
Some may call it serendipity. I call it God’s sovereignty–and tender compassion. What a faith-affirming delight that God sets us in the perfect portion of Scripture on the perfect day, at the perfect moment–to address our particular need!
It’s thrilling how God works this way, revealing Himself to us as a living, powerful, personal Being. A big God, whom we can neither manipulate nor anticipate. A God who invites our questions because He already knows each one of them. (Psalm 139:4)
He sees our struggle to conceal them, too. Yet, if we want to go deeper with God, we must go there– right into the middle of the arena of doubt so we can face it head-on.
So for the next couple weeks, we are going to drag this taboo topic of “doubt” into the light. And we’re going to let God strip it of its power to rob us of our confidence in His loving care.
What doubts or questions would you like to see discussed in this series?
Photos courtesy of Microsoft Office online