I always used to think doubt was a bad thing. I thought that I must not truly be a Christian if I had doubt. But what I’ve come to learn is that doubt is something that we all experience at different times in our life. I’ve also learned that my times of greatest doubt have also been my times of greatest faith. Even though I had my doubts, I would turn to God in prayer to help me through my weakness, uncertainty, failure and loneliness. I may not have been certain of the how, but I knew that He would be faithful and trustworthy, as He has shown Himself throughout Scripture.
Whenever I dwell on my doubt, and feel ashamed for feeling this way, I ask myself this simple question: Where do I turn in my time of doubt? My answer thus far has always been, God. It is very easy to use our moments of doubt to turn away from God. This is very much what Satan desires and waits for. He prowls around waiting for people to doubt and stumble in their faith, so that he can be there to feed into their lies, shame and guilt.
Whenever, I have moments of doubt, I find immense comfort reading through Scripture. There are endless stories of great men of faith who struggled with immense doubt, even as they walked alongside Jesus himself. I very much believe God knew that we would struggle with doubt so He hand chose the apostles to show us that doubt happens even to the best of us, that He never stops loving us in our moments of doubt, and He is always waiting for us to draw near to Him.
Let’s look at Paul and his journey to faith. He doubted Jesus was the Son of God even though He was so well versed in Scripture. He persecuted Christians for their faith. The Lord specifically chose Paul to bring the Good News to the Gentiles. He did not condemn Paul for his doubt but rather called out to him and made Himself known.
When Jesus came to the town of Bethsaida, people heard of His presence and came out in the thousands to hear Him speak. It had gotten late in the day and the people were needing to be fed. The apostles informed Jesus to send the people on their way to find food, but Jesus says to them, ‘You feed them.’ The apostles looked at Jesus with confusion, unsure how they would ever be able to afford to feed that many people. Interestingly, the apostles had just returned from doing great miracles in surrounding towns and villages as a result of the authority and power Jesus placed over them. Yet, even after having the ability to do these great miracles and knowing all that Jesus had done in the past, they doubted that they could feed the thousands. Jesus does not rebuke them, but rather reminds them that they can trust Him to provide.
“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke them. Then He gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. Luke 9:16-17
Even Thomas, one of Jesus apostles doubted the resurrection of Jesus. In John 20, it says:
“Unless, I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. A week later His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” John 22:24-29
We are the ones Jesus calls blessed for we have not seen Him, yet we believe in Him. We put our trust in Him and the promises to come. Jesus’ death on the cross is what saves us from destruction. It is not our steadfast faith, but our courage and confidence in Him. It is our hope in Him that reveals that our faith is real.
“But Christ as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we’re God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in Him.” Hebrews 3:6
Have you ever questioned whether your faith is strong enough? I’m always reassured that even when my faith seems weak and faulty, that Jesus is strong enough to save. His love for us is not based on our faithfulness. He knows we are sinners and He knows we struggle with doubt, but where we are unfaithful, He is always faithful. Thankfully, it is not my feelings or actions that saves me, but rather Jesus and what He did for me on the cross.
“However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteous.” Romans 4:5
Recently, my associate pastor spoke on the topic of belief versus trust. His simple yet clear distinction between the two was truly eye-opening to me. It shattered my feelings of doubt and brought to light God’s truth on the matter. Today, we use the word believe to describe something we are in agreeance in. I believe there is poverty in the world, I believe the environment needs to be looked after, I believe there is war, but none of this changes my character or lifestyle. He goes on to say that faith is more than just knowledge. When we look at Scripture, those with the greatest doubt were the ones who were the most educated in God’s Word. James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” In this verse, James challenges our understanding of the word believe. Even the demons, believed who Jesus was and shuddered because they knew what that meant for them, yet it did not change them in anyway. They did not have a change of heart, they did not choose to repent and put their trust in Him. In the Greek, the word believe is tightly rooted in the word trust or to substantially put weight on. Knowing this, I have a much easier time putting aside my feelings of doubt because as I examine my life, I see all the countless times I’ve placed my trust in the Lord in the good, the bad and the unknown.
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Don’t let your doubt cause you to stumble in your walk with the Lord. Continue to place your trust in Him and expect Him to be faithful to the end. I hope you will find great peace as I have, which comes only from knowing and trusting the Lord.
SHARE: In your moments of doubt where do you turn? Do you place your trust in the Lord or do you drift away from Him? What is one thing you can do today to move from belief to trust?