Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Seasons of Doubt

"I think the Bible was written by men. It is a political thing to try to control people." Those words just broke my heart. I was speaking with someone I love last week who has many doubts about God, religion, who Jesus is and what it all means. This is someone who grew up in a Christian home and even would have said they were a Christian several years ago. But doubts, fears, and wordly wisdom have invaded the heart of this precious person. And things have changed. After a long conversation, I realized my "arguments" were useless. I needed to pray and trust God but I had no power to make someone change their mind.

Later that day, someone on Facebook, who is an atheist, posted this article that basically says Jesus is not real but was made up by the Roman Government to control the Jewish population. I couldn't even read the whole article because I felt nauseous. It seemed everywhere I turned last week, there was another violation of my faith and I was getting weary.

I'd be lying to you if I told you I didn't start to doubt. What if they were right? What if I'm a fool? What if Jesus was just a made-up story? Have you ever been face to face with serious doubts like this?  Not only have you probably had doubts race through your mind at some point, they have also run through the minds of some of the strongest Christians in history. Even John the Baptist had his doubts - and the Bible says he was "filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb"! He was the voice calling in the wilderness, telling others the Messiah was coming - He saw the dove land on Jesus and heard the voice of God say, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." If he doubted, why do I think I wouldn't struggle at some point with doubt? You can read about his doubting here.)

As I have struggled and wrestled with God in this season of doubt, I've really come a long way in a short period of time! He is so faithful to meet us where we are, to answer our questions, to bring us encouragement and to renew our faith when we earnestly seek Him. Here are some of the things I've learned in this "doubt crisis" that I want to share with you:

1.  Confess the Doubt 
My first thought was that I shouldn't tell anyone about my doubts. I don't want anyone not believing because of doubts I would have. I don't want to make people think I doubt to the point of unbelief! But if I wasn't honest, it would stay in the darkness and it would certainly grow. That's what happens when we pretend. And then we do not walk in truth. God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all. I decided to voice my concerns and shine light on my doubts by speaking with a couple of trusted friends. And I found lots of company and more encouragement than I could have imagined!

2. Renew Your Mind
When doubts arise, it's an all-out intellectual and spiritual battle. But I'm reminded of how Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 how the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God. God saw to it that we would never find Him through human wisdom! He prefers to use His Word and what the world considers "foolish preaching". If you are struggling in the darkness of doubt, find a way to go toward the light of truth - where God is. Spend time in His Word, with His people and in prayer. Let Him renew your mind. He will do it. Some of the scriptures that helped me this week are listed in this blog. I encourage you to look them up - memorize them and know them (1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Hebrews 11, Mark 9:14-25, Psalm 94:19).  It's transforming!

3. Ignite Your Faith
Keep in mind that Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith, it is impossible to please God. He loves our faith! He is drawn to a humble heart that is seeking Him by His grace through faith.  Fan the flames of faith by remembering and thinking on the promises God has given and recalling the faithfulness of God in your past. Read through your old journals, recall times when you know God moved in your life. Remember the Dad whose son was possessed by demons in Mark 9? He asked Jesus to heal his son and then Jesus said, "If you can believe, all things are possible for him who believes." The father then replied, "I do believe! Help my unbelief!" I can relate. God answered his prayer of faith and healed his son. And Jesus didn't scold the man for his confession.

3. Keep Your Doubt in Perspective
Finally, remember that doubt is not unbelief! There is a big difference. Doubt is questioning what one believes, but unbelief is choosing not to believe despite the evidence. The reason you are struggling with doubt may be because God is getting ready to deepen your faith even more! Take courage - and stand firm. "When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer." Psalm 94:19

“Sometimes doubting is not a lack of faith, but an expression of it. Sometimes to doubt is to merely insist that God be taken seriously not frivolously, to insist that our faith is placed in and upheld by something other than seeming conjuring tricks.” 
― Mark Buchanan

1 comment:

Dusty Dills said...

Gosh. I accidentally closed this blog out and didn't read it when you sent it to me. This morning however, I FINALLY read it. Wow, Leslie. This is spot on and came at the right time (Gods time)! Thanks for this. Thanks for your transparency. This is good stuff!

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