Don’t Sink Under The Weight Of Doubt.
When God calls us to love him with all our hearts, soul, strength and mind. He didn’t plan for us to switch off our brains and blindly follow him. God created that unique facility so that it would inform our hearts of God’s wonders, divine promises and truths so that our hearts may awaken a passion for him that affects the way we think and engage with the world.
WE SHOULD FACE GENUINE DOUBTS
Doubts can erode this passion, doubt is a feeling of uncertainty that keeps us suspended in 2 states – belief and unbelief. These doubts can range from not trusting in God’s promises, doubting the goodness of God and sadly, sometimes his very existence. Without a persistence engagement towards truth, this growing cognitive dissonance affects how we live and how we impact those around us. We become apathetic and slowly our flames are watered out to unbelief.
Our honest and humble doubts shouldn’t be discarded but faced head on. Because Christians with unresolved doubts, too indifferent to ask the tough questions about why they believe the things they do is like an untested computer system without a firewall. At the first sign of trouble and they’re vulnerable to being hacked.
I’ve seen for myself, zealous Christians who enter academia to study philosophy and theology and almost lose their faith overnight when exposed to vigorous questioning from clever skeptics. Unfortunately, the unprepared don’t last as shallow beliefs systems quickly unravel and are exposed. Elspeth Barnett, a theology graduate from King’s College London explains how she felt the pull of doubt on her gradually. “Surprisingly, for me, it wasn’t the content of the course, but rather the mindset that one is trained in when tackling the content that I was unprepared for. A mindset of continually questioning, undermining, doubt, and sad to say I didn’t recognise that I had adopted this beyond the lecture room. I found church difficult, perpetually questioning the lyrics of worship songs “Did I find this love?” and so it went on, like an outsider looking in”
Like Elspeth, we are reminded daily of how we live in an increasingly post-modern era where everything is called into question and undermined. Biblical scriptures are viewed as dated and irrelevant. Our intellectual minds have been trained to critique and reason things that can’t be seen and to trust in only what can be proven and seen. Based on the current climate we’re in, it becomes even more important to deal with our doubts head-on. Otherwise, if we drift along, we may one day discover we were worshipping an idol all along.
JESUS WANTS TO GIVE YOU THE ANSWERS
There are 2 types of doubt, there is the type of doubt that the Pharisee had. A prideful doubt that refused to acknowledge that Jesus was the Messiah and posed questions not with a heart to understand but to trip Jesus up.
Then there is genuine doubt. When we take this to God and wrestle with our feelings of serious doubt, we find that Jesus provides us with reasonable grounds for our faith in him. One notable doubter was Thomas who didn’t believe that Jesus had resurrected. “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my fingers where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).
Jesus didn’t rebuke Thomas and tell him to have more faith. Rather he knew he could rescue Thomas from his sinking skepticism by revealing to him his finger and hands. In a moment, Thomas’s questioning and confusion vaporised when Jesus appeared to him. Notice however that Jesus didn’t give him evidence straight away. Thomas has to struggle with his own doubt for 8 days before Jesus showed himself to him. Trust that your wrestling will pay off too and Jesus will meet you wherever you are if you are honest with him.
SATAN THE FATHER OF LIES, WANTS US TO DOUBT
We have an enemy that is against us and wants us to stew longer in our doubts. Satan planted seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind at the beginning of time. “Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1). Eve didn’t even question the fact that there was a talking serpent. Instead, she continues to give the serpent the time of day and eventually gave into its lies and ate from the fruit of the tree that God told her not to eat from.
If we put on the full armour of God, we are in a better position to extinguish Satan’s scheme. But if we fail to battle those seemingly innocent questions, it can spiral into dark places and a step too far. Before we know it, we enter a whole new realm of faithlessness, all whilst maintaining an outward facade of confidence. Our minds can become a battlefield and drift towards the firm conclusion; What’s the point? Is this all even worth it? Is God really who he says he is?
Unfortunately, some Christians are stuck in these dark phases for hours, some for months. But many doubters after a long, tiresome period of reflection realise their own skeptical conclusions can still feel unsettling and begin to cast doubts on their own doubts.
We see this in the book of Job in the way God handle’s some of Job’s reasonable doubts. Job was a man that lost everything including his health and his family. Bereaved, Job legitimately calls into question God’s plan. “For what hope has the godless when he is cut off when God takes away his life? Does God listen to his cry when distress comes upon him?” (Job 27:8-9)
God, however, doesn’t answer Job’s question directly but returns by asking Job a question that is aimed to perplex and point him back to his sovereignty. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?” (Job 38:4-5)
GOD GIVES US MANY REASONS TO TRUST HIM
Whatever your questions to God are, he also has some question for us. He designed these questions to take our eyes off our prolonged unbelief and to fix our gaze upon him and his incredible power. His ability to speak the world into being at the command of his voice – God said let there be light and there was light (Genesis 1:3).
We don’t have to look too far today to see evidence of God’s divine and intricate handiwork. Take for example the stars, there are around 200 billion stars in the galaxy and we will never be able to reach them in our lifetime. What this tells me is that God didn’t need to create 200 billion stars, but he did so to point to his glory and to declare the works of his hands (Psalm 19:1). So we can marvel at them and consider the amazing Creator behind it. And it doesn’t stop there, we get to have a personal relationship with the creator and we get to call him Abba Father.
God has given us a million and one reasons for us to trust in him today. Rest and take delight in the things that will help us see God more clearly and finally lay aside the weight of unbelief and distrust in God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Ann Ajet is the lead writer at Bread. When she’s not writing, she’s exploring street food markets in London with her husband and daughter.
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