Lately I’ve had an intense battle with doubt.
Doubt is something God’s children have dealt with since Eve. In Genesis 3:1 Satan said to her
Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’? ESV
Here Satan casts doubt on what God said. He does that with each of us who wants to follow the Lord.
We know the rest of that story. Satan convinced Eve God had negative motives, so she disregarded what He had said and did her own thing.
During my days of doubt recently, after awhile I was able to see that this was Satan—up to his old tricks. Three things he goes for are God’s love, God’s goodness, and God’s power. I don’t doubt that He’s good, loving or powerful, but I fall into doubting He desires to be good, loving, and powerful toward me—especially when circumstances take so long to resolve and my prayers go unanswered—some seemingly for decades. Lately I thought my prayers were answered for a loved one only to find out I was wrong.
The biggest doubt I’ve battled in my life is doubting God’s love for me. When something bad happens, I can slip back into thinking, If God loved me, He wouldn’t have let this happen.
But God has assured me as I’ve turned to Him that no matter what happens, He cannot and will not stop loving me—no matter what other people say or do and no matter how I may falter in my faith. During these times of doubt, God is ever-ready to assure me of His love.
The thought that occurred to me this week is this: God wants me to doubt myself—not Him. I need to doubt my thoughts and my feelings when I’m going through a hard time. They cannot be trusted to be truth, but God can be trusted to only speak truth. During times when the enemy is tempting me to doubt as he did with Eve, I need to speak God’s Word rather than try to battle him with my own words.
When I doubt, I forget that trials can become treasures. The latest “bad things” that happened to me have brought much good into my life. They have been an open door to more freedom and more healing. I can now say that God allowed them because He cares about me and loves me enough to use trials to transform me.
In Matthew 14 there is a powerful story about doubting. Peter walked on the water toward Jesus who was already out there defying gravity.
But when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened, and as he began to sink, he cried out, Lord, save me [from death]! Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt? (30-31 AMP)
Jesus asks me the same question.
God is convincing me I don’t need to beat myself up for doubting. Paul Tillich, a theologian and philosopher has said, “Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.”
God uses doubts to help us grow in faith. We doubt, and then we cry out to God, and He assures us and erases our doubts. He holds out His hand when we are sinking because of keeping our eyes on our problems rather than on Him and pulls us up out of the water like He did with Peter. That’s what He did for me lately.
And that rescuing reminds me how much He loves me, and how He continues to lavish His goodness and power on me.
How about you? Are you ready to cry out to God in your days of doubt? He is there holding out His hand. Won’t you take it?
Elaine, i love you honesty and transparency…reminds me of this video from Billy Graham…