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Dealing with doubt: Scripture, quiet space and close friends reaffirm faith

I envy people who never once have had a moment of doubt about God and his work in this world.

Even though I have had great experiences with God and his people, something about the way my mind works allows questions and doubts to creep into my thinking at times.

My mother — who taught me to know God and believe all that the Bible and an orderly universe revealed about him — never had a single moment of doubt, even when her poor health had made her a total invalid with a sharp mind.

My wife is totally accepting of the existence of an all powerful and all wise God. Doubt is never an experience for her.

I am blessed to be a firmbeliever who knows in my heart that God exists and has great love for hiscreation, especially mankind for whom he gave his only son to redeem from theclutches of Satan and sin.

But every now and then,“What if …” creeps in. The death of a precious, innocent 5-year-old, themalignant brain tumor of a young doctor who had been a history professor and inhis early 30s felt called to become a physician, the man who needed a kidneytransplant and, after having a successful transplant, had a series of issuesresulting in his death seven months later.

Any apparent injustice orirrational event can trigger that questioning.

I have lived long enoughto know that my faith rises and retreats like ocean tides. I have faith to facemost things in life. In fact, the main experience of my life is marked by ahigh tide of faith.

But I have learned that,at times, the tide will retreat, leaving me with uncertainties. My lifeexperiences have allowed me to assess the causes of my doubts and to developstrategies for addressing them.

Ihave come to realize that my doubts increase when I take my eyes off Jesus —just like Peter when he was beginning to walk on the water. When I am tooobsessed with what I want (the recovery of health for a dear friend or familymember) or when I am so busy that each hour of the day is scheduled with workand events, I become a prey to doubt.

Failure to succeed insomething really important for my family, my career, or my church family alsoallows doubts to arise.

My first step in dealingwith doubt is to create quiet space and time when I can think through what isgoing on. Since my thinking and my fingers seems to work together, I try writingout my feelings, my concerns, my thoughts to see if the problem is more than apassing concern.

At times the issue willbe clear and I understand how to combat the doubt. At other times I have noreal insight.

My second step is to readthe Gospel of Mark through a couple of times. Fixing my attention on the deedsand teachings of Jesus has great power over my thinking. The sense of eternalwisdom and purpose comes through in Mark’s simple, direct narrative.

Mynext step is to visit with one of my friends who seems never to have doubt. Iam fortunate to have strong believers from many different generations with whomtotal honesty is possible. The objective thinking of another person oftenreveals the basic issues in my doubt.

Duringtimes of doubt, I write out my prayers so that I can be very thoughtful. Duringgreatest doubt, I have relied on very simple prayers — “Lord, help me believewithout question,” “Lord, forgive me for doubt,” “Lord, have mercy on me,”“Lord, I believe: help my unbelief.”

Continuing to pray intimes of doubt is very important. Our prayers affirm that we know God is thereand shows our expectation that he will hear us.

When uncertainty isworking in my mind, I find it really important to use as much time as possibleto study my Bible. The usual 30 minutes I spend with Scripture each day is notnearly enough. Spending three or four hours a day in the Word can do wondersfor my faith and help me see clearly how foolish my doubts have been,

When doubts arise, takeaction to reconnect your life and heart to God. The tide will rise and bringrenewed peace to your life.

CONTACT  [email protected].


  • Feedback
    Doubt comes when we realize what we have been taught is not true. We credit God and blame God for occurances with which he had nothing to do. Christians need to step back and look at God in the face of reality not wishful thinking.
    John Jenkins
    Gatlinburg, TN
    July, 14 2012

    Thanks for sharing your personal thoughts and struggles. I personally gained something positive from reading this article. I have faith that someday my daughter will be able to overcome her doubts. I thank you for that.
    Sharon Jacobson
    Sharon Jacobson
    Overland Park, Kansas
    Louisburg, Kansas
    July, 9 2012

Filed under: Insight

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