Doubt is the feeling of uncertainty or the lack of conviction. Doubt for the disciple of Jesus Christ is being unsure of what you believe and why. Doubt is not unbelief; however, it can become unbelief if unattended. As we saw with the Apostle Thomas, doubt can sometimes be a refusal to believe. Thomas refused to accept that Jesus had risen from the dead until he touched the wounds in Jesus’ hands and the wound in His side.
As you can see, not even the apostles, Jesus’ closest friends, were immune to doubt. There was no reason for Thomas to disbelieve the words of the other apostles. They had no reason to lie to him. But he demanded physical proof.
In the case of Thomas, Jesus kindly gave him the proof he was seeking. However, for you and me, He does not always do so. Can you imagine seven billion people all demanding for Jesus to appear to them so they can touch the nail prints in His hands and the wound in His side before they will believe in Him? For Thomas, Jesus made an exception. For you and me, He may say, “I have given you more than enough evidence to believe. To choose not to is pure foolishness on your part!”
As C.S. Lewis points out in his book The Screwtape Letters, doubt is just a ploy Satan uses to get Christians to break their link with God. You see, faith is your link to God, your umbilical cord with God, so to speak, where He can empower you with His wisdom and grace.
Perspective #72: Faith is your link to God, your umbilical cord with God, so to speak, where He can empower you with His wisdom and grace.
Doubt chips away at faith, and if not addressed right away, it can destroy it. When you let doubt creep in, and you do not face it head-on, it can and will destroy your faith, destroy your relationship with God. I do not say this to scare you. On the contrary, I say this to encourage you to see doubt as okay. It is an integral part of your walk with God; you just can’t leave it unattended, you can’t “live” in it so to speak.
We often allow doubt to creep into our lives when we do not have all the answers. Because we do not know, we feel there is no way to know. This, of course, is the furthest thing from the truth, and that is why I discussed questions and learning before I started discussing doubt. Asking questions, researching answers, and investing in learning are just some tools you have at your disposal to combat doubt. The question is, will you use them?
Giving into doubt is violating two perspectives we discussed earlier. Perspective #64: “The only way to truly fail is to give up and quit—to throw your toys out the window and walk off the playing field.” And Perspective #65: “Do not focus on what you don’t know about God; instead, focus on what you DO know about God!”
Adopting both perspectives is critical in your fight against doubt. Just because you do not know, doesn’t mean it can’t be known, so don’t give up. Keep praying and asking God for the answers; He will bring them to you when you are ready to receive them.
It is important for you to understand you are a finite creature. There is NO WAY for you to know everything about an infinite God, so quit trying! Take your focus off what you do not know and put it back on what you do know about God. I have tripped myself up so many times on this one. I give into fear, worry, and doubt because I do not know something. I can’t tell you how many times God has had to remind me of this fact.
Have you seen the Disney/Pixar movie Up? I love this movie, and I love Dug. He’s the loveable dog that Carl and Russell run into on their adventure. During one of the scenes, Dug loses his focus in the middle of a conversation and cries out “squirrel,” as if he wanted to go chase after it or something. That is precisely what doubt is. It is a squirrel; don’t chase it. Do not give into doubt and take your focus off who you know God to be and put it on something you do not know for sure. This doesn’t mean you don’t invest time and effort to resolve your doubts, to answer those questions. It just means you do not focus on your doubts. Instead, you keep your focus on Him. It is okay to admit you do not know something.
Understand, the enemy can’t interfere with your relationship with God if you keep your focus on Him, where it belongs. That is why he has carefully crafted a lot of doubt so he can suck you in and get you to take your focus off where it needs to be: on God Himself. There are a lot of people out there who are trapped by doubt and can’t seem to get out of it. That is because they allow the enemy to keep them focused on it, in bondage to it. That is why you will become what you focus on.
Perspective #73: You will become what you focus on.
If you focus on doubt, you will become even more doubtful. If you focus on God, you will become godlier. It’s a simple equation that has helped me many times.
To deal with doubt, first, you need to pray and ask God for the wisdom to address your doubts properly to not be afraid of them, but to allow them to drive you to find out the answers. To allow you to draw closer to Him for the answers. If you are sincerely seeking His truth, God is not one to play hide and seek with it. He wants you to know, and He wants to reveal it to you. However, if you are not sincere, then He may decide to keep the truth hidden from you. A perfect example of this is the cross of Jesus Christ as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians:
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18-19
People who do not want to get the cross of Jesus Christ won’t. To them, it is just foolishness. They don’t care about the hidden things of God, and they certainly won’t invest the time and effort it takes to get to know Him. However, to those who are sincerely seeking the truth, God is overjoyed to reveal it to them.
Do not let the enemy use doubt to interfere with your relationship with God. Take the time to research and invest in your relationship with Him. Doing this work will turn your doubt into faith in no time, and you will grow in your relationship with God. Around every corner, you will be amazed at Him and who He is. The incredible part is that you have only scratched the surface; He is so much more than what we can discover here in these limited, frail bodies.
You say, "I still have doubts and questions." So what? So do I. Everyone has doubts and questions, so why shouldn't you? As a finite creature, you can't expect to understand everything about an infinite God and how He does things; Paul certainly didn't.
For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. – Romans 11:33-36
Many of the Old Testament writers expressed doubts and even questioned God. Job is one of the biggest. There are 42 chapters in the book of Job, and if you have ever read it, you will notice that Chapters 1 – 37 are spent telling the story of Job and how he got into his situation. Several times Job cries out, “If I could only question God, then I could defend myself, and He would know my innocence” (paraphrase). Job is obviously frustrated with his situation and the fact that God is not answering him. Then, beginning in Chapter 38 and lasting a total of four chapters, God questions Job. He starts by asking Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” I guess when God starts off asking you that question, you know you’re in for a hard day. The cool thing about God sharing the story of Job with us is that we get to see just a glimpse of who He is, how big and mighty He is. It takes God four chapters to reveal this fantastic snippet; it is an excellent story, and when God is finished questioning Job, all Job can say is:
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore, I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” – Job 42:5-6
One thing doubt causes us to do is to judge God and what He’s doing or allowing to be done: a two-year-old child who develops cancer and dies before their third birthday; a 23-year-old who’s in need of a kidney and has been on dialysis for six years; a close friend whose mother is in a nursing home suffering from dementia; parents whose son is born three months premature; brand-new parents who suddenly lose their two-month-old for no explainable reason; your father dies of a massive heart attack when you are seven. People may often respond to these tragedies just like I did when God gave me two boys with special needs. Why? What are you doing to me? Why are you picking on me? Don’t you see my pain? Why? Why? Why?
Like I said earlier, why is not a good question to ask God. It doesn’t build up and grow your relationship with Him. Instead, it usually has the opposite effect of destroying your relationship. Just like the “why” question, doubt, if unattended, is devastating to your relationship with God. Do not let it fester, do not let it get out of control. Accept that there is no way for you to know ALL things that can be known about God and that it is okay for you not to know some things.
Since we are finite creatures who must make our decisions based on probability, there has to be a point when we realize the weight of the evidence comes down on one side or the other. We'll never have all the answers, but there are more than enough clues to give God the benefit of our doubts.
Finally, have you ever thought about questioning your doubts? Just ask yourself, “Is it reasonable to doubt that Christianity is true considering all the evidence?” Probably not. The fact is that considering the evidence, you should have a lot more doubts about atheism and every other non-Christian belief system. They are not reasonable; Christianity is. Start doubting your doubts and accept Christ. It takes too much faith to believe anything else.
Do you have any other great ideas on how to fight doubt? Leave me a comment below, I'd love to hear about them!