Dealing With Doubt

Are you doubting yourself? Do you second guess every big decision that you make? Are you paralyzed at the prospect of making the wrong decision, thereby removing yourself from God’s will? We’ve been feeling all of these things, wrapped up into one emotional, gut wrenching, messy package. Lately we’ve found ourselves at a crossroad, staring down two paths with intensity, seeing ourselves take each path, analyzing what the outcome would be. What lies at the end of the road? Would we regret it? To answer these questions, we’ve turned to Scripture, knowing that perfect peace and reassurance only comes from knowing and meditating on the truth.

That place of dependence

What we can learn from Job

Trust in Him. Trust in Him. We’ve heard these words countless times uttered by preachers and professors and Sunday school teachers. We know the answer to our own maladies, our own aches. The answer to any doubt is to simply trust in Him…right? Then why does it feel so difficult? So unachievable? So unsettling at times? As much as we try to deal with our issues on our own, we find ourselves continually running back to God, confessing our brokenness, and wishing we were more trusting. But we’ve realized there’s something very precious about this reunion – this continual return to God after realizing that we are unsettled, imperfect beings.

For those of you unfamiliar with the book of Job, it’s an Old Testament narrative describing the very real accounts of a faithful man named Job. He loved the Lord, and in return God had blessed him with offspring, land, and material goods. It was a time of harvest and goodness. In the midst of this goodness, Satan was allows to test Job. In other words, God allowed Satan to test Job’s faith, to tempt him and to take away outward displays of God’s blessings. Satan took away all that God had given him – his land, his money, and even his children. Perhaps the most shocking part of this narrative is that God allowed it.

Job was tested with such intensity. In the midst of his suffering, Job was faithful still. Even when his three friends tried to convince him otherwise, Job remained steadfast. This isn’t to say that he didn’t have his moments of lament or confusion. A large portion of the book is Job accusing God, asking him pointed questions to determine His motives – His character. How could a God of such love and beauty allow such a tragic thing? What is fascinating to see is how Job is wrestling with his doubt, and how God shows up in a very real way.

“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.” Job 13:15

The latter half of the book almost reads like a courtroom scene. Job has God on trial. As Job is accusing God, God appears in a flurry of power and authority and asks Job some of His own questions. Long story short, God ends up restoring what was Job’s, and blesses him beyond belief. But what really is striking in this book, is not only that Job was faithful, and he was honest. In his position of doubt, he didn’t turn from God or run away in anger. On the contrary, he ran to God and demanded answers. He also didn’t sugar coat his sufferings. He didn’t despair in solitude and then “better himself” to enter God’s presence. No, he brought his broken spirit to God in honesty and humility. To doubt is to be human. God understands this and is ready to meet us where we are.

Abiding in Him

What we can learn from Jesus

We’ve taken notes from Job – the best way to address our doubts is to face them head on. Is this the easiest decision? No. Will it always elicit the most happiness? Perhaps not at first, but it is a sacred place. If you are in a season of doubt and difficulty, do your research! Talk to God, learn more about His character, uncover the truth about who Jesus is. Read your Bible and pray whenever you can. Have that open and honest conversation with God about where you’re at and where you’d like to be. Take some tangible steps to grow. A few suggestions: get up ten minutes earlier than you normally do. Start your day with Scripture. Tell a friend about your doubts and ask them to pray for you.

Jesus has a lot to say about trusting in Him. All throughout His teachings He discusses the importance of abiding in Christ – taking part in the body of Christ. Walking with Him in your daily walk, reading Scripture, seeking wisdom, etc. Jesus was the perfect example of a faithful son. He was constantly in prayer. He knew when He needed to be in solitude. He knew when to be in community. He knew what specific actions to take in order to affirm the Father’s will. Even when it came to dying on the cross and enduring tremendous suffering, Jesus affirmed the Father’s will. As He was awaiting capture in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed to God in agony “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” As You will.

God is in the business of taking broken things and making something extraordinarily beautiful. He took something like crucifixion – a humiliating, painful mockery – and transformed it into an act of atonement. Jesus’ death and resurrection is evidence enough that God transforms our expectations and supersedes them. The Israelites in Jesus’ day were expecting a Davidic ruler – a militaristic king that would come with a sword in hand and conquer their oppressors. But God, in His great love for us, sent His Son to die on the cross. A lamb to the slaughter. A humble king. But what happened then? Death was overcome. Our sins forgiven. Great tragedy transformed into great victory.

All this to say, your struggles and the infuriating inner workings of your troubled mind are potential glories. In fact, He is using these things to bring you to Himself. It’s okay to not understand and to recognize that maybe you don’t trust Him. In this season of doubt, recognize your place of dependence -your great need. Abide in Him during this time. So as you sit at your crossroad, whatever that may be, know that you are in a sacred space – a meaningful, precious place that has been traversed by many followers before you. Reach out to Him and He will meet you.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

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