Do you ever feel like your faith is getting a gut check? Or that doubts and question plague your mind? I like to ask questions. When I was younger my mom would get so annoyed with all my questions, “Why…?” “What if….?” “How come…?” At times she would pleasure me by giving answers, but when it just got to be too much 20-Questions she would say, “That’s enough.” I still ask a lot of questions. Just ask my wife and she will agree. I am curious.
I am glad that God does not say, “That’s enough,” when we come to Him with questions. He doesn’t get annoyed or have a question quota. He welcomes our questions and doubts. The older I get I ask God more and more questions. Truth be known, many of our heroes of faith in the Bible had serious questions and doubts they poses to God. If you were honest, I would guess you struggle with doubts at times. What are your biggest doubts?
There are different levels of doubters. First, there are doubters with the little “d” who do not have major doubts they are fight with at the moment, but they might one day. Second, there are Doubters with a big “D” who actively doubt, doing battle with nagging questions that come in like a ferocious front line attacking over and over again. Third, there are those who are dead. The only way to not have doubts is when you kick the bucket.
Since God is invisible we bound to have periods of doubt. We will have times in our life when our have has gone flat like a 2-liter bottle of Coke or when our faith has the full-blown flu. We ask questions like: Does God really love me? Can He really forgive the bad I’ve done? Why does He allow such pain and suffering? How can evolution and biblical creation be at odds? What about other gods from other religions? What if I were born somewhere else in the world? These are real and good questions.
Overcoming doubt is all about what we do with our questions and where we take our questions. Dealing with doubt can electrify our faith. Here are some truths about doubt:
Doubt is different than unbelief. Doubt does not mean you do not believe. I seriously believe in a God that saves, but I do have some serious doubts about God at times. The word doubt comes from the Latin, “dubet re” which means wavering between two issues or bouncing back and forth between two options. The word, believe means to be in one mind about something I agree or trust. The words are different in nature.
Doubts can become unbelief. If we do not deal with our doubt in the right way it can become unbelief. Doubts can become like bunnies, you might have two today, but tomorrow you will have a thousand if not deal them urgently. Doubts can choke out your faith like an uncontrollable weed. Remember, it is where we take our doubts. If all your questions were answered there would be no need for faith. Faith says, “I do not have all the answers, but I know One who does.” [Mark 9:24, “Immediately the boys father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me to overcome my unbelief!”]
Doubts are not a cosmic crime. Doubting is not the same as sinning. When John the Baptist saw Jesus he said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” He saw the Holy Spirit descend like a dove. Later he was thrown into prison. For Johnny-B this is where the rubber met the road. How did the baptizer of Jesus respond? He doubted [Luke 7:18-19]. I love the way Jesus responded to John’s questions [7:28]. Note where John goes with his doubts and questions, to Jesus. Remember, it is what we do with our doubts that matter. Who do you go to?
Doubts can distance us from God or can draw us to Him. I love my wife. I definitely take her for granted when we are together. I do not concentrate on her character, voice, beauty, her sweet spirit, and all that has drawn me to her. I do not fully appreciate her until we are apart. It is when I am sitting in my office working or away on a trip and she is not there, then I appreciate her fully. It is the same way with doubt. When we feel distant from God, He uses those times to draw us near to Him.
What are you doing with your doubts? Are you allowing them to defeat you? Or are you allowing God to deepen your faith? How can you win the bout with doubt when your faith fizzes flat? First, Go to God. Ask God, “What is my driving doubt?” Admit you do not understand, but are willing to listen. Second, if you have not already, receive Jesus Christ. Beginning a relationship with God brings you close to Him. Sin separates you from Him, but forgiveness brings you freedom. Third, get off the island. Don’t doubt alone. As a kid I would watch Gilligan’s Island. It was the same story every week. Even thought the Professor could build satellite dishes our of bamboo and radios with coconuts they could not get off the island. They tried too much on their own. Do doubt in church, small group, with others you trust in the faith.
If you don’t deal with doubt it will deal with you. The result will be a TKO punch to your faith.