Doubt is a large part of everyone’s life.
Maybe you doubt if the economy will ever improve, or if a great revival will hit our cities again as they have in the past.
Tonight I am doubtful that this piece of chocolate cake is big enough to make me feel better.
But there is something much more serious that you and I both doubt. We often doubt God.
No matter how strong of a Christian we think we are, no matter how consistent we are in our quiet time, or how many verses we have locked up tight in our memory, you doubt God. And so do I.
We may not struggle with the big doubts, like the ones about God’s character or his gift of salvation.
We have smaller doubts.
But here is a nasty little secret that I have learned. Our “small doubts” generally reveal that we don’t really understand the big truths about God.
Let me explain . . . .
Doubting God’s Character
We all get impatient; some of us more than others, but we have all struggled and failed in this area. Let’s say that you are a little crunched for time and are standing in the check-out line at the grocery store. In front of you another lady has a cart overflowing with items. So far you have been able to wait patiently despite the ticking of the clock. But when she pulls out her massive binder of coupons your patience is replaced by shock, then annoyance, and then your internal complaints begin. But let’s back up.
We say that God is a God of providence.
That means He so governs our lives that even the people we run into and events in our days are put there by God. So when we are impatient we are challenging His providence. We balk and complaining about His plan for our day. We doubt that anything good can come out of interruptions.
While it is good to make plans and have to-do lists, God’s plan for our day may look very different than we expect–and that is good because “this is the day that the Lord has made” (Ps. 118:24) and His plans are better than ours.
The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all..
~ Psalm 103:19 ~
Doubting God’s Grace
As Protestants we loudly proclaim that we cannot earn our salvation, that it is a free gift from God. And yet, in our daily Christian life, we act as though we have to earn God’s favor.
How many of us feel super guilty and less loved by God when we haven’t had our devotions in a while? How many times have we felt like we couldn’t approach God in prayer because we had ignored him for a period of time or sinned too much? I know I sometimes do.
In those moments we are actually doubting Christ’s work on the cross. We begin to believe that it was not enough and that somehow we can and must earn more of God’s love. God’s love for us is the same whether we memorize the entire Bible or can barely say one verse. Christ paid it ALL.
Every time we sin we are doubting God in some way.
Do you worry? Then you are doubting God’s providential care.
Do you pray without really believing God will answer? You are doubting his power and his promise to hear his people.
Do you feel that God has abandoned you? You are doubting Christ’s words when he said that he is with us always.
Do you struggle with anger, especially anger towards God? Then you are doubting his wisdom and goodness.
Doubt, while seemingly small, is a way of saying that God cannot be trusted. We must and can fight against it.
The cure to all this doubt is simple and difficult all at the same time. It is simple in that it only requires faith. But faith is cultivated and grown through the ministry of the word of God.
We must read and study and meditate and talk about the word of God so that we might see His goodness and grace from every possible angle.
Doubt discovers difficulties which it never solves; it creates hesitancy, despondency, despair. Its progress is the decay of comfort, the death of peace. “Believe!” is the word which speaks life into a man…
~ Charles Spurgeon
With the Man in Mark 9 we must pray, “I believe, help my unbelief” and the Lord whose name is Jehovah Ezer (the Lord my help) is willing and able to help us.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ~ Romans 15:13
*What are some practical ways you have dealt with the doubt in your life?