Friday, April 24, 2015

Advice to Those Who Have Doubts (And It's Not From Me)

How Doubt Can Make Us stronger

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Let's just be real.  Chances are good, you've had it, and you don't like to admit it.  It has crept in at one time or another.  It comes in all shapes and sizes.

Sometimes, it slows you down.  It nags.  It annoys.  It stirs, but it's fleeting.  You can ignore it.

Other times, it beats you up.  It distorts.  It embarrasses.  It frustrates.  It scares and disappoints.  It piles.  It is way too heavy to ignore.  It stops you in your tracks.  And when it does, it wins.  It sticks around way too long.  So, you hide it as best you can. 

Doubt.  Nobody wants to be associated with it.

Whether we doubt ourselves, another person, or the truth and certainty of something- doubt comes with a negative connotation because it reveals weakness. 

Yet the truth is, we are all human.  We doubt.  We don't like to talk about our doubts, and that's exactly why I am writing this blog post. Because left unattended, doubt has the potential to spread like weeds or wild-fire, and suck the beauty and life right out of us.

How do I know?  I am just going to be honest with you.  That's where I've been recently.  I've had one doubt in particular that has been around way too long.  It's one that has evolved over time from some challenging and confusing, less-than-best moments.  I cringe to acknowledge it, even to myself.

And as I have struggled lately, God keeps reminding me again and again that I am not alone in my doubt and neither are you. 

The story of Thomas keeps coming to mind.  Thomas' doubts earn him a bad rap and a nickname none of us would choose for ourselves, "Doubting Thomas."  Thomas needs to see and feel Jesus for himself to believe the Good News his friends tell him. Jesus has risen from the dead!  This news is life-giving.

But for Thomas, things are confusing in his present reality.  We've all been there, stuck in our own minds.

Does doubt really make us weak?  I think it all depends on how we handle it.

I am thankful for Thomas, his doubts, and example.  We can learn so much from him.   His story gives us living hope for today and encourages us in the truth we need in order to move beyond the shadows of our own doubts.  

4 Key Take-Aways We Learn from Thomas:
1). Doubt is not truth, and it doesn't define who we are. When we are in doubt, we have to see doubt for what it really is... 
Doubt is the human difference between what I think and what is true and possible in Christ, between what I know and what God knows. 
The world tells us doubt reveals weakness.  We question Thomas' faith because He has questions.  In faith, though, our doubts reveal nothing more than our deep and ever-present need for GodGod who created us in His image for good works, works He has prepared ahead of time (Ephesians 2:10).  The more we realize and embrace our need for God, the stronger we become.

2.) We need to be careful, honest, and bold in talking about our doubt.  Like Thomas, naming our doubt in safe and faithful company is the first step to dealing with it.  This kind of conversation makes for powerful prayer.  Sometimes, that means we have to question and weigh what everyone else is saying, thinking, and claiming.
God hears us even when we can't see him.  Jesus died and rose from the dead, just like He said. God is in our midst, not to judge and condemn us, but renewing us (including our doubtful minds) with His love (Zephaniah 3:17). 

3.) God meets us where we are.  God often shows up in the most surprising ways.  Locked doors (and any other human barriers or stubbornness we hide behind) are no match for God. 
"Peace be with you" is the first thing Jesus says to Thomas.  He reaches out to us, passing us that same peace.  Jesus promises to give us exactly what we need in His perfect timing.  God wants us to believe in Him and His power and purpose above all else (Ephesians 3:20).   

4.) God works to transform our doubt into stronger faith, but it's not just for us.  Jesus tells Thomas (and us) to "stop doubting and believe."  Notice it's a command, and it's not all about us, simply for our own peace of mind.  
Facing our doubt and handing it to God not only strengthens us and our faith, God uses it to help others as we follow His will for our lives.  He has work for us to do for Him (John 20:21).  I love Thomas' certain and strong response to Jesus, "My Lord and my God!" 

Think about it.  Is there a doubt you need to address today, one you need to get out of your mind and place in God's hands? 

I think about my doubt, that one that has been filling me with worry.    

And I know.  It's holding me back.

God doesn't make mistakes.  I don't want to allow my doubt
to get in the way of the full and purposeful life God promises, the dreams He is placing in my heart that need to collide with the confusing reality in this world. 

We are called and claimed by God.  You and I, we, are His beloved children.  

Doubts, soaked in God's truth, make us stronger and better prepared for the great works to which God is calling us.  That looks and feels differently for each one of us.  And yet, my prayer for all of us, is that we grow and stretch as God's children beyond what we know so that we, too, can respond with certain and bold strength, like Thomas.  I pray that we may have the faith that only comes from knowing our Savior who is in our midst.  May we each have our hearts and minds so open to His presence that we can answer Him, "My Lord and my God!"

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.  But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. 
John 20:29-31

 Grace and peace,


  1. I love that you are writing again!! And I so needed this article on doubt. Lately I have had nagging voices in my head and your writing "our doubts remind us just how much we need God" so helpful Lindsay!

  2. Thanks for stopping by to read! We are in it together!