“I wish I could stop doubting Jesus,” my friend said, tears filling her eyes. “I just don’t know if He really cares. If He does, I’m not sensing it right now.”
I’ve experienced times of doubt too. Have you?
My doubts seem to come in the middle of the night with those nagging thoughts that rob me of my much-needed sleep. Fear of a recent health diagnosis. A wayward teen. Finances. Marriage difficulty. A death of someone close. Work. You know, life. Good grief, life is hard! And after I’ve finished doubting and worrying (worry is doubt), I’ll beat myself up for my doubts and lack of faith! Can you relate?
Doubts loom around like shadows, seeking to engulf every bit of light. When they catch us, we are left groping in the dark, desperate for any glimmer of hope.
Is this how God intended it to be? Is this what the Christian life amounts to? NO.
Take heart, my friend. If you have experienced doubts and wavering faith, you are in good company.
The Bible is Full of Doubters.
The first doubter is found right off the bat in the book of Genesis. Satan introduced doubt to Eve when he asked, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat of any tree in the garden’?” He wanted her to lack confidence in God’s command. When Eve affirmed God’s command and stated the consequences, Satan replied with a denial, which is a stronger statement of doubt: “You won’t die.” Doubt is a tool of Satan to make us lack confidence in God’s Word. But of course, we cannot lay all the blame on Satan.
A few more examples of doubter are Gideon when he doubted hearing God’s voice (Judges 6), Sarah, Abraham’s wife doubted God when He said she would have a child in her old age (Genesis 18:12), Zechariah doubted when God said he would have a son in his old age (Luke 1:11-20), and Thomas, one of Jesus’ own disciples doubted that Christ had risen from the dead (John 20:24-29).
With stories like these (there are many others), we can know that God isn’t surprised by our doubts. The important thing is how we handle them.
How to Overcome Doubts
Acknowledge, Confess and Admit
Here’s how that looks: You wake up in the middle of the night and your mind will not turn off because of worry over the cutbacks at work. Acknowledge you are worrying which means you are doubting God’s care for you. Confess it to God. Call it what it is: doubt, worry, fear. Admit you need God to help.
Even those with faith in God struggle with doubt on occasion, like the father in Mark 9 who said, “I do believe. But help my unbelief” (verse 24). Jesus did not turn away from the father for his lack of faith. He won’t turn away from us either if we are honest with Him.
Begin Looking for Answers
Don’t be lazy about this. Read the Bible and the many other historical documents that confirm the validity of the Bible. Answers are literally a click away.
The remedy for doubt is faith, and faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). It only makes sense to go straight to the source when it comes to matters of faith, right? God gave us the Bible as a testimony of His works in the past so we will have a reason to trust Him in the present. “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago” (Psalm 77:11).
Talk to others whom you respect for their faith. Ask them to share their story of faith. I guarantee you, they have experienced doubts from time to time too.
Get to Know God Personally
We can learn a lot about a famous athlete or Hollywood actor, but unless we spend time with the person, we will never know them. The same is true for God. God didn’t intend for us to read the Bible to know about Him. He wants us to know Him intimately. How can we be sure of this? He sent His Son, Jesus to live and relate personally to us— then finally, to die for our sins. That’s pretty personal. And as if that wasn’t enough, He gave us His Holy Spirit to live within those who have given their lives to Jesus. The Holy Spirit “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). The Spirit also guides, helps, corrects, gives gifts (Galatians 5:22-23), sanctifies, convicts, and intercedes.
When we read the Bible with the intention of knowing God intimately by engaging the Holy Spirit’s guidance, our perception changes. Tell God that you want to know Him not just about Him.
Get To Know Who You Are To God
Often, our self-worth is based on what others tell us or what we believe about ourselves.
The only true authority on our self-worth is Jesus Christ who considered us valuable enough to die for our sins.
Now read this aloud:
The only true authority on MY self-worth is Jesus Christ who considered ME valuable enough to die for MY sins.
The reason this matters is that when we recognize our great worth to God, we expect Him to be present and personal in our lives. It’s hard to doubt God’s care for us when we know how much we matter to Him,
God has a lot to say about our worth and value. Here are only a few that prove our great value to Him.
The key to overcoming doubt is faith.
Growing in faith doesn’t just happen, it is developed. For something to develop it must be fostered.
Faith is a powerful force. When we have doubts about God, our purpose here, and our self-worth—it affects our perspective on everything.
What you believe defines the experience you have in this life and the next. What you believe about Jesus determines both.
My friend, God can handle our doubts. Doubts don’t intimidate or surprise God.
Bring your doubts to Him today, and whenever they crop up. He can take it. And He can take them away as you grow in and foster a personal relationship with Him.
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Have you experienced times of doubt? How did you handle it? Take time to comment below.