How do we handle our doubts? Do they weaken or strengthen our faith?

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio

We all have doubts about our faith. It’s how we handle them that determines whether our doubts weaken or strengthen us.

Let’s look at some men of great faith in the Bible who had doubts and see how they handled them.

John the Baptist

We know John the Baptist well. He paved the path for Jesus, baptizing in the wilderness. He proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God, the Messiah and said that he was unworthy to untie Jesus’ sandals. Following the baptism of Jesus, John saw and heard directly from God:

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:16-17)

(See also Mark 1:9-11)

Yet John still had his doubts:

2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else? (Matthew 11:2-3)

John died with full faith in Jesus as the Son of God.

Jacob

On his way to meet with Esau, Jacob wrestled with God.

Jacob Wrestles With God
22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacobs hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, Let me go, for it is daybreak.

But Jacob replied, I will not let you go unless you bless me.

27 The man asked him, What is your name?

Jacob, he answered.

28 Then the man said, Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.

29 Jacob said, Please tell me your name.

But he replied, Why do you ask my name? Then he blessed him there.

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared. (Genesis 32:22-30)

In the night, alone, Jacob had a night long fight with God. This symbolizes Jacob’s doubts. And Jacob was sure, having touched God, that he would die. Instead, Jacob was blessed by God and had his name changed to Israel (which means struggles with God).

Thomas the Doubter

Poor Thomas. He is best known in history for being a doubter. He may have been the first Missourian (The Show Me State). Thomas was brazen. He challenged Jesus when he did not understand something:

Thomas said to him, Lord, we dont know where you are going, so how can we know the way? (John 14:5)

Thomas is probably best know for questioning the resurrection of Jesus. “I won’t believe it until I see it. Show me!”

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, We have seen the Lord!

But he said to them, 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.

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you! 27 Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.

28 Thomas said to him, My Lord and my God!

29 Then Jesus told him, Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:24-29)

Thomas fell to his knees, his faith strengthened.

How do we face our doubts?

Our doubts can come from so many things. Lack of physical proof. Misfortunes and tragedies that befall us. “Unanswered” prayers. Pressures in an unrighteous world. Scientific findings. What do we do?

Hide from the truth. We can all easily do that. We see something “nasty” and just hide from it. We don’t want to see the God of the Old Testament, so we don’t read or study it. We avoid seeing what is happening in the world with things like starvation, disease, genocide or abortion. When we do such things we avoid the question of “How could God allow this to happen?” We are hiding from our doubts.

Deny, deny, deny!

Similar in many ways to hiding from our doubts, we deny those things which could raise doubt. An excellent example the “God vs. science” issue. We accept things without looking deeply into them. This is blind faith. We don’t face and remove our doubts, we avoid them all together. In doing so, we don’t allow God to show us the full majesty and magnificence of His creation.

Give up.

When we just give up, we are defeated in our faith. It’s so easy to do, give up. We live in a messed up world. We see bad things happen to good people. We all have troubles in our lives. We can’t touch Jesus as Thomas did. One needn’t look long or hard to find excuses to just give up on our faith.

OR

We can face our doubts squarely

What did Thomas do? He made darned sure he was in the room when Jesus reappeared to the disciples. He faced his doubts.

Jacob limped on in his journey to meet Esau. (Remember, God touched his hip and damaged it) Jacob (Israel) knew that his struggle with God was to teach him lessons, that their wresting match was caused by his doubts. His faith was strengthened.

John the Baptist faced his death in total faith.

We can seek out what is happening in the world, to not hide from the nasty things that are out there.

We can admit rather than deny our doubts and delve into what causes them.

We can keep on keeping on in our faith.

Have you ever noticed how, when we turn our troubles and doubts over to God, He provides answers? When we face our doubts directly, He comes through?

How many times have you been troubled only to have your Bible fall open to just the right verse? How many times have your prayers been answered?

How do you handle doubts? Like so many things in our lives, it is a decision. It’s up to you.

Shalom,
Art
Alive in The Word

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About aliveintheword

Missouri, USA Married to Marty, 45 years 2 sons (with 2 daughers-in-law) and 2 granddaughters Life dedicated to serving Jesus Christ and delivering the Good News
This entry was posted in CHRISTIAN FOUNDATIONS OF BELIEF and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to How do we handle our doubts? Do they weaken or strengthen our faith?

  1. Pingback: Awe Inspiring Love Language | Sexy Christian Wife

  2. Pingback: John the Baptist was the Greatest | YOU DECIDE

  3. writinggomer says:

    Great post! Thank you for encouraging words about handling doubts.

  4. granbee says:

    Yes, we should be like Thomas and openly confront our doubts. That way, Jesus can invite our touch to the places of truth that will instantly resolve those same doubts!

  5. 4hispraise says:

    Yes you are right. Sometimes, however, doubt is a call for more information. Judgements made upon full disclosure have foundation and are much easier to witness truth. Good to be hearing from you.

  6. ptl2010 says:

    Amen. Let us admit our doubts and cast them at Jesus’ feet. Let Him resolve them for us for the battle is His when we leave our doubts with Him. The secret things belong to the Lord. When it is His time, He reveals His secrets to us to resolve our doubts.

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