If you’re anything like me—or, in fact, like most humans alive—you’re a questioner.
You see something new, something that doesn’t jive with the images you’ve carefully collected in your mind, and you latch onto it. This desire to know and understand grabs a hold of you and you question this new thing, pick it apart, until you have it satisfactorily figured out and can add it to your worldview lenses.
This is one of the ways we learn best: by being curious and questioning things. It’s a good thing.
But what happens when you come across some troubling new information? Something that no matter how much you try to figure it out, just doesn’t seem to fit with what you know to be true. It conflicts, like a blister on your toe rubbing against the strap of your sandal.
You turn this new piece of information over in your mind, again and again. It bothers you, and not because it’s a mystery you can’t figure out. Instead, it bothers you because it looks so clear and obvious…and yet it doesn’t fit.
Over the days, and perhaps even weeks, this nagging idea begins to call up new questions. If it doesn’t fit with the other ideas and truths I hold, yet it seems true…something has to go. What if I’ve been believing a lie all along? What if I’m wrong?
Now this thought rears its head as something much more terrifying than a question. It has a name: doubt.
What exactly is doubt? To put it simply, doubt is a feeling. Doubt is a feeling of uncertainty or hesitation. It is usually considered synonymous with questioning the truth of something.
That’s it. Really.
If doubt is just a feeling of uncertainty or asking questions, why does it seem so scary?
I know for me personally, doubt can feel terrifying because I have seen what’s happened to many people who doubted. They stepped into a downward spiral of silent, unanswered questions and hopelessness, and ended up walking away from all they had thought to be true. And these weren’t strangers I witnessed in this decline—they were friends. People I grew up with in church and in my homeschool groups. People I would never have expected to turn and walk away.
How did it happen? What was it about doubt that caused this heartache in their lives?
I believe it’s the fact that doubt makes us feel ashamed, so we keep quiet about it. Those questions running endlessly through our minds stay there, never spoken aloud in the light of day. We let doubt confine us to the dark pit it’s creating in our minds and hearts.
Breaking the silence
It’s important to realize that having doubts and questions doesn’t mean you have weak faith. It means your faith has an opportunity to grow.Having doubts and questions doesn’t mean you have weak faith. It means your faith has an opportunity to grow. Click To Tweet
Maybe you’re like I was two years ago, a homeschooler taking her first big step into the “real world” by getting a job, and you’re encountering some people who seem to have a way of asking the very questions about God and life that you don’t have answers to. You’re stumped and left fumbling for words, and you feel like you just aren’t good enough at being a witness.
Maybe you’re like I was one year ago, a girl having a mini debate with a non-Christian friend, who says in frustration, “But you haven’t even looked at the other side. You’re not being honest with yourself.”
Maybe you’re like I am today, struggling through a university science class, feeling like your world is threatening to crumble at your feet if you can’t get things nailed down as they should be.
Can I encourage you today? It’s okay. You’re not alone. You have no need to fear, for the Lord of Hosts is with you at every moment. These questions are not a surprise to him.
Instead of hiding in shame, bring your questions before him. Cry out to God like the man in Mark 9 who desperately wanted to believe Jesus could heal his son, who said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
But beyond your prayers with God, bring your questions and your doubts to others who can encourage you in Christ. Talk to your parents, your close godly friends, even your pastor. Search for answers together. Doubt only has power when it keeps you silent. So break the silence.Doubt only has power when it keeps you silent. Click To Tweet
Challenges grow your faith
Doubt is an opportunity, not a curse.
Why? Because doubt brings questions, and questions can be answered.
Ultimately, doubt is asking one big question: God, are you who you say you are? And do you know what that question is? One giant opportunity for God to show himself faithful in your life beyond what you have ever known before.
Consider Job, and the many trials he lived through. Chapter after chapter of hard questions, of situations that looked hopeless, of cries that went unanswered. And yet, how does the book end? In Job 38, God begins to speak, and although he doesn’t directly answer Job’s questions, he reveals his power and majesty and sovereignty in a breathtaking way. After two chapters, Job’s only response is “I am unworthy.” Job knew God in a special way that only came through his hardship.
Friends, don’t live in doubt. But recognize it as an opportunity to beg God, with Moses, “Show me your glory.” And trust he is faithful and will do it.