Confront your doubts head-on, as Thomas did. But you’ll want to handle them carefully. Let’s discover how you can disarm them.
Admit Your Doubts Personally
Has this ever happened to you? Sliding into a pew, late for church, you feel tired, edgy, and possibly coming down with a cold. Across the sanctuary, people are standing and testifying: “I won five more souls to the kingdom of God,” somebody says. “And I bet some of you have won more souls than that! I don’t know about you, but I feel God’s sweet presence every moment of every day.” Everyone around you is laughing, applauding, and saying, “Amen!”
Won five souls to the Lord? You can’t even enter the church parking lot without honking your horn at someone who got your space. You’d like to stand up and give your testimony. “Hello, everybody. Let me tell you about my week. I haven’t felt anything but a lousy sinus headache and a bushel of doubts. I haven’t had the sense of God in my life for a long time. I’m barely getting by at work, my family life is in chaos, and to be absolutely honest with you, I haven’t seen God doing much of anything.” Then you would sit down, knowing not to expect many amens—just the kind of awed stares usually reserved for gorillas at the zoo; perhaps the same glances that Thomas got in that disciple-filled room.
But it would be far better for you to stand up and spill it in public than to smother your tangled emotions in sanitary smiles for months and years. If you’re going to make it through the bad times and finally encounter the true goodness of God, you must begin with honesty. You must admit to yourself that it’s not well with your soul.
Articulate Your Doubts Clearly
You can’t get by with a simple, “Oh, I’m just a natural-born doubter, I guess.” No, you’re going to have to do better than that. You’re going to have to crystallize your thinking and put your finger on precisely what it is that’s causing your uncertainty. The nameless doubt is the one you can’t harbor. Identify it, describe it clearly, and deal with it. Are you struggling with the historicity of the Resurrection? We have excellent source material to recommend. Are you grappling with the problem of evil? Great minds have grappled before you—and they’re willing to share their thoughts. Are you wondering if one brand of faith is any different from another? Make a brand comparison.
Articulate what you doubt and why you doubt. What brought this on? Was it something someone said, perhaps some scholar or skeptic? Is there something amiss in the realm of your emotions? Clarify these issues; wipe the clouds away.
Acknowledge Your Doubts Prayerfully
Christian writer Mark Littleton found a little formula that I like. It goes this way:
Turn your doubts to questions.
Turn your questions to prayers.
Turn your prayers to God.
You mean we can take our doubts directly to God? Won’t He be offended? Not according to scriptural precedent.
David Jeremiah, Slaying the Giants in Your Life (Nashville, TN: W Pub., 2001), 145–146.
This article excerpted from Slaying the Giants in Your Life.
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