Do you ever doubt God? I do. When I’m personally going through a tough situation or a see a friend going through a rough time, I often ask God, “How can this work out for our good and Your glory?” I don’t think I’m alone in this. In fact, I know I’m not.
The most famous Biblical doubter was Thomas. His story of doubt is narrated in John 20. By looking at his story, I think we can find some helpful ways to disarm our doubt as Christians.
First, we need to look at some secrets regarding doubt. Once we realize these characteristics of doubt, it will be easier to combat it.
Have you ever realized that doubt develops in isolation? It did for Thomas in John 20. Notice in John 20:24 that Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them. He was out by himself. This shows me that Christian people need other Christian people. So, where’s the easiest place to commune with other Christians? The church of course. The writer of Hebrews put it this way in Hebrews 10:25 – “ not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Famous theologian, Dr. David Jeremiah, put it this way, “Stay connected to people and you’re more likely to stay connected to your faith.” If you want to overcome doubt, don’t isolate yourself from other people, especially other Christians.
Doubt demands evidence. One reason we tend to doubt something or someone is that we don’t have all of the facts, or all of the facts we think we need. Doubt stubbornly refuses to take anything but the truth. Just because you have doubt and may doubt God does NOT mean that you are unbelieving. Just like Thomas, we sometimes need our faith to be proven.
Have you ever noticed how doubt will generally bring us back to God. Once we find the evidence and facts to combat our doubt, they generally point us to God.
Honest doubt can deepen our faith. I wonder if Thomas may have had the most sound testimony of all the apostles. He may have doubted but then he believed. Notice how in John 20:27, Jesus is calmly reassuring Thomas, not scolding him. I’m sure after he saw Jesus, Thomas never doubted the resurrected Lord again and was able to stand firm in his faith.
Honest doubt often defines our faith. If you look at John 20:28 and pay attention to punctuation, you’ll see Thomas’ exclamation. “My Lord and my God!” Jesus turned Thomas’ question mark into an exclamation point. You see, when we doubt God and He proves His promises to us, our questions marks get straightened into exclamation points too.
Everyone doubts. We know it will happen to us at one point in our lives or another, or probably multiple times.
So, how can we disarm our doubts?
First, admit your doubts personally. Be honest with yourself and be honest with God. Don’t be afraid to be honest with God with your doubts…He already knows them; He may just be waiting for you to admit them.
Next, articulate your doubts clearly. The Bible gives us many examples of heroes of faith who doubted God. Look at Gideon in Judges 6. The angel of the LORD has called Gideon to deliver the Israelites from the hand of the Midianites and Gideon openly doubts that God is with them at all (Judges 6:13). Sarah doubted God’s promise of a son in her old age when she laughed at the angel’s prediction (Genesis 18:12). I also bet there were times when Job doubted God and His plan during his time of suffering. To be able to disarm your doubt, you have to figure out what you doubt and why you doubt it. Tell God these things, which leads to our next step.
Acknowledge your doubts prayerfully. The Bible’s heroes weren’t heroes because they had no doubts. They were heroes because they took their doubts to the Lord. Many times, we read in Scripture of God’s servants telling Him their doubts. Do you know what His response usually is…”Do not be afraid for I am with you.” The same is true for us.
We also need to analyze the evidence diligently. If there is a part of Scripture that you doubt, such as creation, then research it. Many scientists have found that when they try to DISPROVE creation, they end up debunking their theories and proving the Bible to be true. The same is true with the resurrection of Christ. You see, God is a God of order. He put everything together and it operates the way it should.
Finally, we need to humbly accept our limitations. We all have limitations. In the end, some mysteries will linger. Only God knows everything. Faith must accept some degree of mystery as defined in Hebrews 11:1. Remember, in Isaiah 55:8-9, God says “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
So, when you have doubts, know that you’re not alone. Go surround yourself with other Christians, be honest with yourself, and talk things over with God. In the end, you’ll be a stronger Christians because of it.