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
I would question someone’s honesty if they said “I’ve never doubted.” Even John the Baptist, when he was in jail, sent his friends to ask Jesus, “Are you the one?”
Greater faith is required when life is hard and God is silent and “in the wings” so to speak, But the fruit of that faith appears in glorious moments like the verses God gave you.
I love your John the Baptist example. What a great illustration of a mature believer struggling with doubt.
I believe that’s why the Lord included that moment in the Bible. Every example of “being human” is in God’s Word. Nothing new under the sun.
Bethany, I think you have hit on an excellent subject matter; especially for these hard times. Praise God that His Word does speak to our needs in a timely manner if we are in it and listening.
Yes, Joanne, I love how Scripture is most often the source God provides to alleviate fear and doubt. The “Word of God is living and active…” and ABLE to deal with every issue we face. 🙂
I have a friend who has decided God can’t exist because there’s evil in the world. I can’t understand how someone familiar with the Bible could think that way, but maybe it’s something you could blog about.
It is a very difficult concept for all of us to grasp, I think. It takes authentic faith to trust that God is good when we see all the evil swirling freely around us. Our pastor gave the best message I have ever heard on the problem of evil. I keep trying to remind myself to get the tape!
Thoughts for my day….more, more and more please….!
There will be “more” next Tuesday, Lord willing! 🙂
I think steps to conquer doubt would be good.
That is exactly what the next couple weeks will cover. Stay tuned! 🙂