As Christians, we don’t want to admit that we ever have it. We believe in the Bible and we declare it is a book of truth and honesty.
Yet there are examples of people who have doubt within the Word of God.
Habakkuk cries out “How long, O Lord must I call for help but you do not listen?” Asaph in the Psalms says “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure…all day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.” Job is a well-known doubter as evidenced by the words “Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me?” David exclaims in the Psalms “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? …I cry by day, but Thou dost not answer; and by night, I have no rest.”
Bingham Hunter* examines the four examples and draws some conclusions from these four doubters. First of all, not one of them doubts that God exists. When we often think of doubt, what comes to mind? Some may think that we are questioning God’s existence. However the expressions of these four doubters are directed to a God who can act but He has chosen not to. The four are being honest about their anger and frustration. They have been hurt and they expect God to acknowledge their steadfast faith and act on their behalf. They also believe in God’s promises: that He will protect His own, He will honor righteousness, He will avenge wrong and He will display justice. These four are asking an omnipotent God to display His strength.
These doubters are wondering if God is going to act but they are not skeptics. These utterances are not irreligious. They are not disobedient, lawless or rebellious.
As believers, what can we glean from these examples?
First of all, it is better to be honest about doubt. We all have it from time to time. I worship in a church and one of the most frustrating things about church is the façade that Christians try to present at all times. It is tantamount to receiving excommunication to admit that God can frustrate us from time to time. We can’t question His motives. We all want to act like we “have it all together” when in fact many of us don’t. Express hurt, frustration and impatience. God knows you are feeling it anyhow. After all, He knows all.
Secondly, when we are feeling these doubts, there is no reason to withdraw from worship. Confess your feelings, ask for restoration and renewed fellowship with God. Don’t feel self-pity and turn away from God or church.
Thirdly, know that a period of doubt is just that; a period of time that will pass. Even though we may be feeling that spiritual darkness is upon us, know that it will not last.
Examine the words of Romans 8: 37-39 as Paul comments “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
From time to time, everyone wrestles with uncertainty. It is a very impossible goal to live a life of faith without a doubt from time to time.
The key is to realize that there is no reason to question your true belief.
Everyone has their share of questions, frustrations and times of impatience.
The fact that you can have these moments and live through them can actually strengthen your faith. Go to your Bible and explore the aforementioned four doubters and see that they came through their period of doubt.
God committed Himself to Habakkuk, Asaph, Job and David and He has committed Himself to you. Hunter sums up the long-term view in these words: “God has committed to us in Christ, and the knowledge that His commitment is always and in everything characterized by love.”
What a peace we can have as we bask in the love of God, even in our moments of doubt.
*author of The God Who Hears…