Saturday, September 2, 2017

Dealing with Doubt

by Andrew Cromwell

Almost everyone has doubts. Doubts are a part of life. We even have sayings about doubt. We say, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”, and “Don’t believe everything you hear”, and “Trust, but verify.”  

And without a doubt, there is plenty of reason to doubt! Our world has disappointed us so many times we find it difficult to trust anything anymore. We have been disappointed by products we purchased that didn’t live up to their claims. We have been crushed by people who promised and didn’t follow through. And we have been devastated by friends who told us to trust them, when they never planned to be trustworthy at all.

There is very little in the world that is reliable and trustworthy, or so it seems.

And then we begin to think about God—an all-knowing, all-loving Creator—and we can’t seem to keep our negative experiences from bleeding over into our trust in Him. And this is natural. Everything we have seen and experienced in this world has led us to doubt. But God says that we are to have faith in Him.

Faith is the opposite of doubt. Faith requires us to believe and trust even when we can’t see the entire picture in this moment. Where doubt demands to see the hard evidence, faith is ok with waiting because it is confident the evidence will follow.

Doubt is a kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you doubt someone and are convinced they are going to let you down, they always do. You can always find a reason to doubt! You can find plenty of reasons to doubt God too. Many people sabotage their faith in God by choosing to believe things about Him that are simply not true (for example, believe that if God is real and He loves me, then He won’t allow bad things to happen to me). When these false beliefs are verified (aka, bad things happen), then they become angry at God.

So what do we do with doubt?

The first thing we do is to choose the opposite of doubt. We choose faith. We choose to trust God even when we don’t understand. But choosing faith is only the first step.

Second, we feed our faith and starve our doubts. This is a decision to actively feed yourself the right “faith-food” and avoid feasting on doubt-filled thoughts. Instead of rehearsing all the things we are unsure about, we instead focus on the things we are sure about. We know God is good, we know He love us, and we know that He is with us even in the midst of difficult times (including times filled with doubt).

Finally, we push into the only One who is really trustworthy! We do whatever we must to get closer to God. We desperately pursue Him. We get around people that are excited about God. We read the Bible. We talk to God. We grow ourselves spiritually.

As you do this, you will find that your faith will grow stronger.

The next time you are filled with doubt, talk to someone about it. But don’t just talk to anyone, talk to someone who you know is filled with faith and can encourage you. Don’t talk to someone who is filled with doubt! You’ll always leave that conversation filled with even more doubt too.

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