Last week’s post, Don’t Let Doubt Sink Your Faith, prompted these 3 honest and sincere questions from a reader.
1) Are you saying that one can’t doubt their faith?
2) Are you saying that if we doubt that God won’t love someone who does?
3) Are you saying that if we doubt we are not people of faith?
First of all, many thanks to our reader for her questions. They are honest. Fair. And felt by many people of faith. And they can be addressed with answers from God’s Word.
Be assured, that God’s love is unconditional. He loved the world, even while it was in sin and rejecting Him, and sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins (Jn. 3:16; Rom.5:8) There is nothing that can separate you from the love of God (Rom. 8:31-39. Not even doubt.
People of faith can and do deal with doubts. Faith is not something that soars to the mountain top without an occasional dip in the valley. Good people may experience doubts. God’s people, recorded in the Bible, had to deal with doubt from time to time.
In our post last week we cited the example of Peter. While his faith led him to walk on the water toward Jesus, it was also his doubt that caused him to sink. Jesus knew it when He asked, “Why did you doubt?” (Matt 14:19-21). Yet, Peter is one of the great men of faith who helped lay the foundation of the New Testament church through his preaching ministry.
Sarah, the wife of Abraham, is given as a faithful example for women to follow today (1 Pet 3:6). However, when God promised her barren womb would bear a son, she doubted. The Bible says she laughed at the idea. (Gen 18:11-14). In fact, later she thought she was helping God by having Abraham father a child by the Egyptian maidservant, Hagar. Clearly, Sarah dealt with doubts.
One of the most notable examples of doubt in seen in the apostle Thomas. Following Jesus’ resurrection, he miraculously appeared to the apostles as they were secretly meeting behind closed doors. Thomas was absent. Later they excitedly shared the news with him, “We have seen the Lord.”
Thomas’s response? “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (Jn 20:24)
A week later Jesus appeared again. Thomas was present. And Jesus invited him to touch his hands and side. “Stop doubting and believe” was Jesus admonition (Jn 20: 27).
Other examples could be given where faithful men and women of God experienced moments of doubt.
Not asked, but important to this issue is how to deal with doubt when it occurs. Here’s a few simple suggestions.
(1) Admit your doubts. Thomas did. He asked for help. And so should we. Talk to God about it. Seek the counsel of friends who won’t indict you for honest questions.
(2) Stay attached to the fellowship of Believers. Don’t allow your doubts to lead you away from fellowship of Christians who can encourage you. God created a church Family to help fortify our faith and provide a community of Believers to help us in our spiritual journey (Heb 10:23-25).
(3) “Doubt your doubts, not your faith.” This quote from Ray Prichart is great advice. Don’t let doubt get the upper hand. Your faith has brought you this far. Don’t doubt it. Instead, “doubt your doubts” The apostle John reminds us that our faith will provide the victory that overcomes the world (I Jn 5:4).
(4) Let your faith work! The Bible tells us that faith is perfected by works (Jas 2:14-16). Be guided by your faith. Act on your faith. Live by your faith. Too often when doubts arise we react to the doubts and act on them. Read Hebrews 11. Every one of God’s greats had a reason to doubt. But they acted on their faith. Follow their example.
An unknown author challenges us with these inspirational words.
Doubt sees the obstacles
Faith sees the way.
Doubt sees the darkest night
Faith sees the day. Doubt dreads to take a step
Faith soars on high.
Doubt questions ‘who believes?’
Faith answers, ‘I.’
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman