Messy Monday: Wrestling With Doubt

It seemed like a normal Sunday morning for me two Sundays ago.  I woke up late, rushed to get ready, fought with the dog to go potty, fussed at my husband, grabbed my bible, got in the car, and rushed off to worship the Lord in a complete frazzle.  We sat in our usual spot and with a deep breath I tried to steady myself for service.  I’m so thankful that church starts with worship.  Otherwise, many Sundays my heart wouldn’t be in the right place to receive the Word!

As our connections Pastor, Justin Harris, began to speak I was really excited.  Hands down, that man knows the Word and his teachings are always on point…and that morning was no different!  His message had a point and it felt like it was directed right at me!  I was totally okay until he said, “Probably many of us, if we are honest this morning, have spiritual doubts of some kind.”

Hold up!  How did he know that I’ve been struggling with doubt?  I began to wonder if he talked to my husband before preparing for his sermon.  I just recently joined Facebook so I haven’t had the time to post any of my messy drama and all my instagram posts are mainly about my dog and cats…so I had NO IDEA where he was getting his information from!  I wanted to shrink down in my chair, fearing he would certainly use me as a sermon illustration!  Yet, I knew his words would fly right through the rows in front of me and land, with a smack, right into my heart.

God obviously was going to use him to talk to me that morning…so I opened my journal and my “listening ears” and frantically took notes.

Justin began to share a “Road Map to Deal with Spiritual Doubt” and what I’m about to share is a mixture of his sermon and what I felt God was speaking directly to me.

I know I couldn’t have been the only one in service dealing with doubt.  Many of us will struggle with doubt at one point or another in our walk with the Lord.  We’ll find ourselves in situations or circumstances where we wonder if God is listening to our prayers.

We may feel like God is a thousand miles away, the loneliness sets in, and we wonder, “God, I thought You would never leave me or forsake me.”

Maybe there’s a time when we stepped out in faith and things didn’t go how we thought they should.  We question if we REALLY heard God speaking or if we allowed our imagination to run wild.

Sometimes, the hurt, pain, or addiction may feel bigger than God and we ask, “God, can you really overcome this in my life?”

No matter what road is being traveled, entwined within its course are turns of doubts and uncertainty.  The lingering question is this:  How can our quest take us from doubt to faith?


First, Turn Left On To “Own It” Avenue:

The first step in dealing with doubt is to own it.  I have to admit…I was kind of ashamed that I was doubting God.  I mean, seriously, I’ve been a Christian for 25 years!  I shouldn’t be doubting God, right!?  By now I should have faith like David, or Abraham, or John the Baptist!  However, our faith isn’t based on whether we have doubt or not…it’s based on Christ alone!  Besides, each of those men {and many more patriarchs of the faith} dealt with doubt along their journey and many of them were named for having great faith!

Admitting we have doubt gives faith the opportunity to grow as we experience the grace and mercy through Christ.

Let’s take a closer look at John the Baptist’s circumstances and read of the doubt he faced.  Let’s read Luke 7:18-19.

“And the disciples of John reported to him about all these things.  And summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, ‘Are You the Expected One or do we look for someone else?'”

At this time in John’s life there was a huge turn of events…he was imprisoned for speaking out against King Herod and his marriage to Herodias, he knew his demise was at hand, he was hearing from his disciples on the outside of the hostility toward Christ and the unbelief of many…and all this doubt was taking place after John baptized Jesus in the Jordan and heard God’s voice saying “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  We shouldn’t think that John’s faith in Christ or his confidence in Him was wavering.  In the midst of John’s uncertain circumstances, he just needed reassurance!

The past few months I’ve been trying to deny the fact that I was doubting God.  I took my doubt, wrapped it in a dark sheet, and tried to stuff it away in the back of my skeleton closet.  But as I sat there absorbing every word of the sermon, I began to realize that doubt is part of being human.  I didn’t have to feel ashamed of the doubt I was feeling…I needed to own it.  I needed to look it in the face, bring it to the light, and make my next turn.

Next, Turn Right On To “Straight” Street:

The second step in dealing with our doubt is to take them straight to Jesus!  There are times when I forget that the Savior of the world was fully human and understands what it means to deal with such a mess.  He’s not afraid of our doubt and he certainly isn’t disappointed in us when we have uncertainty.  Jesus doesn’t expect perfection from us but desires a personal relationship with us that is real…even with all our messy heart issues!

Let’s read how Jesus responded to John’s question in Luke 7:20-21:

“And when the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?’ At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He granted sight to many who were blind.”

John the Baptist knew the only way he could deal with the doubt he faced was to go straight to the One who could answer his question and put those doubts to rest.  How did Jesus respond?  Did he rebuke John’s doubt and concern?  Did he tell the men that John had lost his way or that he had a lack of faith?  No.  As a matter of fact, Jesus doesn’t say anything at all!  He begins to move in power!  Verse 21 says ‘At that very time’.  Literally, that means ‘that very hour’…the very hour John’s doubt touches Jesus’ ear…the very hour that John’s uncertainty comes to the Light…Jesus begins to take action.  He begins to SHOW the disciples who He is by what He does.

I sat there in my chair in the sanctuary and wanted to run to the altar and lay all the doubt I had at Jesus’ feet.  I began to realize how my doubt was affecting my relationship with the One I love the most.  In trying to deny my doubt, I was denying Jesus access to my heart.  I didn’t want to keep on the no access road…I needed to turn around and take a right into Jesus’ arms.  I needed to be honest with God and give Him access to my heart again even it meant I had to unwrap the doubt hiding in my skeleton closet.

Part of having a personal relationship with Jesus is getting personal with Him!

The moment we lay every doubt before the Lord, He will begin to move in power.  In the midst of our doubt Jesus will show us who is and what He can do.  He will lay every doubt to rest and give us the reassurance we need.  Until that comes to fullness we might need to take a little roundabout.

Then, Take the “Faith” Roundabout: 

While we wait for the Lord during our times of doubt we need to remind ourselves of the faithfulness God has shown us in the past.  There are many things we ARE certain of and many times that we have ‘tasted and seen that the Lord is good.’  We need to put our faith in what we DO know about Jesus.  More often than not, when God’s people face doubt, He calls us to faith.

Faith is holding on to what you know is true despite how you feel!

As I madly scribbled notes that Sunday, I thought back on God’s faithfulness through all the years.  Even right now, as I write this post, I can think of many times in the past that I faced uncertainty and I can scream and shout of His faithfulness during those times.  In Luke 7:22 Jesus sent a powerful message back to John.

“And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard; the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them.”

What Jesus said was a quote from Isaiah 35 that gave the Jews a glimpse of what it would look like when the Messiah came.  Jesus’ message to John was an invitation to look back to what He knows of the Messiah and to put his faith in Christ.  Jesus was saying to John, like he is saying to us, “You already know the answer!”  Put your faith in what you know is true!

The story we see over and over in the Bible is God calling His people to faith in the midst of uncertain circumstances and situations!

Finally, Cruise down “Story” Lane:

Our present circumstance or situation doesn’t determine how our story ends.  Jesus does. Period.  This faith journey is not one full of dead-end streets and back alleys.  We may have to travel on rocky terrain at times or it may seem we’re climbing a long, arduous mountain that looks like it’ll never end…but we have to remember our story does end. And it ends with glorious victory in Jesus!  Revelation 21:4 says:

“He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

Our story ends with heaven in sight where Christ will wipe away all the tears from our eyes. We won’t ever mourn again…we won’t need to cry any longer…the pain will be gone!  Every doubt will be dealt with!

I’m so thankful that Jesus is gentle with us in the midst of our doubt and uncertainty.  I’m also thankful that Jesus cares so much for us that He would use a normal Sunday morning and speak straight to our doubt.

Have you been dealing with doubt?  If so, where are you in your “Road Trip”?  I’d love to hear from you so we can encourage each other on our journey!

To listen to the full message from Justin Harris on Doubt click HERE

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