The experience of doubt often elicits extreme responses from us. Influenced by the world, many consider doubt a sign of enlightenment, maturity, and honesty. To them doubt is noble. “Question everything!” is their philosophy of life, and when their questions get answered with truth, they just invent ten more questions to justify an “open-minded” high esteem of doubt. Others though, consider doubt to be the worst of sins. Doubting the Truth seems like treason to them, and the more they doubt the Truth, the more convinced they become of the sinfulness of doubt, and become self-condemned.
But neither self-justifying doubt, nor self-condemning doubt is a Biblical response to doubt. Instead, Scripture openly admits the reality of doubt in a believer’s life, but compels one to solve the doubt. “Doubt is real, but fixable”, is the more balanced Truth about doubt.
We know that doubt isn’t safe—just ask Peter (Matthew 14:28-33). Thomas will also testify that all you acts of great faith will be forgotten for your one infamous moment of doubt (John 20:24-31).
Most of the times the disciples doubted, were all times where they knew the truth, but were still surprised when it was proven true. The disciples knew that Jesus’s words always come to pass, but were still surprised by the deadness of the cursed-by-Jesus fig tree (Mark 11:20-25). The disciples know that God’s Word is always true, and still they were surprised by the resurrection of Jesus after the predicted three days (Luke 24:36-49). Faith would have made the disciples exclaim “See I told you so” instead of being surprised in each of these moments. Doubt is a reality among believers, but as Jesus’s responses indicate, it is not something to boast of.
In Romans 14:23 the one who doubts is called the weaker brother, the one who is still immature, and who needs to be very careful with his ill-informed conscience. In James 1:5-8 our pleading to God for wisdom will go unanswered if we doubt that God is a freely giving God. It is indeed treason to ask God for something but doubt the clearly revealed truth about His abundant giving nature.
Doubt is real, but it is fixable. Doubt is not some noble virtue, nor is it some eternally fatal sin. The New Testament contains a wonderful little counselling session on doubt in a passage that very few ever read. There is Truth about Doubt, and that will be tomorrow’s meditation.
O doubting, struggling Christian,Hymn “O doubting, struggling Christian” by Albert B. Simpson (1843-1919)
Why thus in anguish pray?
O cease to doubt and struggle,
There is a better way.
Give up thy will to Jesus,
And trust Him though He slay;
Hush all thy fears and questions,
And settle it today
O soul so tossed with tempest,
Upon His promise stay;
Cast out faith’s strong sheet anchor,
And settle it today
Lord, I give up the struggle,
To Thee commit my way;
I trust Thy word forever,
And settle it today.