Doubt can be debilitating to faith. It can cause grown men and women to lose hope. Have your ever doubted? Are you doubting now? Here are three realities about doubt.
- Doubt is our faith, grasping for truth and honest answers.
Someone said, “Doubt is the mother of faith.” Left untended, doubt can become destructive, but addressed honestly and sincerely doubt can benefit our faith journey. Gary Parker in his book The Gift of Doubt states: “If faith never encounters doubt, if truth never struggles with error, if good never battles with evil, how can faith know its own power? In my own pilgrimage, if I have to choose between a faith that has stared doubt in the eye and made it blink, or a naïve faith that has never known the firing lines of doubt, I will choose the former every time.”
Although Jesus strongly warned against unbelief, he never condemned doubt. Jesus knows that doubt and belief are sometimes compatible. As odd as this may sound, doubt is not always a hazard to faith. It may be the catalyst in bringing a dry and hollow faith to life.
2. Doubt can attach itself to our faith from a variety of sources.
Each needs to be unearthed before we learn how to deal with doubt.
- Emotional doubt springs from pain. The painful realities of life make believing hard. Someone we love is in a tragic accident or gets cancer or dies. And, we cry out, “Where is God? And, why doesn’t he help?” Pain is hard on faith and leads to doubt.
- Experiential doubt springs from insecurity. We doubt whether we matter, whether things can be changed, whether hard work and sacrifice really pay off. When we lose the conviction that our lives are important, we lose the conviction that what we believe matters.
- Volitional doubt springs from unbelief. Doubt springing from unbelief may sound oddly redundant, but doubt and unbelief are not necessarily the same. Sometimes our doubt is faith staggering for firm footing. If doubt leads to honest questioning, it is a good thing.
- Intellectual doubt springs from lack of evidence. Intellectual doubt concerns itself with evidence. Sometimes we need evidence in order to believe.
- Moral doubt springs from disobedience. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we sometimes use doubt to rationalize disobedience and sinful practices. We might say, “I don’t believe,” but what we mean is “I don’t want to believe, because if I believed I would have to change my lifestyle.”
3. Doubt, most often, is not removed by more faith, but through someone’s presence.
It really doesn’t do any good to tell an individual who is in the midst of doubt to believe more. Usually, the person believes as much as they can. What they need is someone who can affirm, forgive, and love them. They need an expression of God’s grace until inner wounds have healed.
If you are doubting, you don’t need more lectures you need someone who will show you the love of Jesus and the difference he makes in your life.
If you are honestly seeking and sincerely searching, God will meet you in your doubts. Jesus has a way of showing up when you honestly seek him. And when he does, he doesn’t say believe me. He says look at me. His presence will transform your doubt into a vibrant faith.
Doubt should not be put on a pedestal, but it can be used in a positive way. If we use it properly doubt can assist us in finding the truth and discovering that God is real. If you have an honest heart and an open mind, God will meet you at your point of need.