Do Not Doubt

March 17, 2019
What would it take for us to believe in God and not doubt? Are miracles and other supernatural displays of God’s power enough to cause us to fully believe? Indeed, miracles performed before our own eyes may be enough, but not always. This was the case in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. While all the disciples saw him and spent time with him after he rose from the dead, we are told that “when they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted” (Matt. 28:17). Yes, in spite of what they had seen and heard, some still entertained doubt in their hearts.
 
Doubt is something that even believers have to contend with. No one is immune from doubt. We all have doubts in our hearts. It must be understood that doubt is not unbelief. Unbelief is a conscious and outright refusal to believe. Doubt is entertaining questions on what you already believe. Even great men and women had entertained doubts in their hearts, but God did not use these against them. When Abraham was ninety-nine years old and was promised to have a son in a year’s time, he laughed and said, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” (Gen. 17:17). Abraham was questioning the timing – he thought that it might have been too late. But though he expressed doubt, we are told that Abraham did not waver in unbelief.
 
While doubt has a negative connotation, it can help us deepen our understanding of God if we take it positively. When King David saw the arrogance and prosperity of the wicked, he entertained doubt about the justice of God, and in desperation said, “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence” (Psalm 73:13). But as he continued to ponder on this doubt, he came to a deeper understanding of God’s ways and plans. He then joyfully said, “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin” (Psalm 73:16-18). But why would even believers entertain doubt in their hearts? Below are some of the possible reasons why we doubt:
 
Fear – The number one cause of doubt is fear. When we are fearful, we tend to question the faithfulness of God. This was fully manifested in the Apostle Peter’s case when, full of faith, he asked Jesus to let him walk on water towards him. He indeed walked on water and everything was fine until he saw the wind and fear gripped his heart. As he began to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus rebuked him saying, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?" (Matt. 14:31).
 
Uncertainty – Even when we hear the voice of the Lord very clearly, we tend to doubt when we consider the attending circumstances. When Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, was told by the angel of the Lord that his prayer to have a son has been answered, he responded with a doubting question saying, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years" (Luke 1:18). In order for this doubt to not graduate into unbelief, the angel of the Lord said, “And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time" (Luke 1:20).
 
Struggles in life – When we are faced with challenging situations and there seems to be no way out, we often question the faithfulness of God. Is he indeed able to deliver us from our struggles? This was the case of John the Baptist. When he was locked up in prison waiting for deliverance, he started to doubt whether Jesus was indeed the coming Messiah. He sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" (Matt 11:3).
 
Sensual dependence – There are those who doubt because they cannot perceive it through their senses. This was the case of Thomas. When the other disciples said that they had seen the risen Lord, he said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it" (John 20:25).
 
Doubt is a spoiler. We can miss God’s best if we keep on doubting his words. We need to heed James’ warning: “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-7). Hallelujah!