What is doubt? It’s when you’re standing between two options and you’ve got to choose, “This or that?” It’s Robert Frost’s poem, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and sorry I could not travel both.” It’s the well-known rock song, “Should I stay or should I go?” It is weak faith, double-mindedness, or, “a state of mind in suspension between faith and unbelief.” Consider the times you have doubted – “What should I do, which path should I take, is this really going to work, what if it doesn’t work? How can I know for sure?” Voltaire described the conundrum of doubt: “Doubt is not pleasant, but certainty is absurd.” Indeed.
But doubt is real, and if you doubt, you are in good company. Os Guinness said, “I believe in doubt.” Doubt is real and the Bible is full of examples of doubt. God repeatedly told Moses to go to Pharaoh and the Israelites in Exodus 3 and 4 but Moses continually put on the brakes and said, “Wait a minute, not so fast; what if…?” Asaph had questions in Psalm 77 and Zechariah didn’t believe the angel in Luke 1. The father of the sick son in Mark 9:24 cried, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” John the Baptist stood so strong for Jesus in Matthew 3 but a few chapters later he asked, “Are you the Christ or should we look for another (Matthew 11:2-4)?” “Doubting Thomas” is most famously remembered for his doubt in John 20:25, ““Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” We should not be surprised when waves of doubt crash upon us.
Why do we doubt? We doubt because we fear. We doubt because we’re feeble. We doubt because we’re finite. We’re not Jedi masters like Yoda who can see into the future, and we don’t have a crystal ball to know what will happen for sure. We don’t have all the answers today. We are uncertain, unsure, unfounded. Jon Bloom writes, “We are at odds with ourselves.” We waver. We just don’t know.
But Jesus understands. He responds to your doubt. He is patient with Moses, He answers Asaph. When necessary, He gently reprimands Zechariah. He heals the son and reassures John the Baptist and comforts Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and put out your hand and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” How does God deal with your doubt? Jude v. 22, “Have mercy on those who doubt.” He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He is patient and understands your weakness. He is good and His mercy endures through your trials and doubts.
You can confront doubt, through Christ. Stand on His promises and remember all the past times He came through for you. Look forward to all He has promised to accomplish in the future. Get with church brothers and sisters who can pray for you and walk with you through these times. Maybe just take a break and go for a walk or get a good night’s sleep. Read your Bible. Listen to uplifting music. Wait upon the Lord. It’s in our nature to doubt, but He is gracious and kind. He will not break a bruised reed, and He will not quench a faintly burning wick (Isaiah 42:3).