Dealing with Doubt
A devotional thought from Mary Jo Sharp for “The Meaning of Life”
According to Gary Habermas, distinguished professor of apologetics and philosophy at Liberty University, “Doubt, manifested in many forms from the assurance of one’s salvation to factual questioning, is certainly one of the most frequent and painful problems which plague Christians.” 1
What should we do when we have doubts about God? We should adamantly seek to answer our doubts. I have heard several stories in which a Christian begins to have doubts and over time faith in God slips away. What I rarely hear is how a person doggedly sought to answer those doubts before deciding that they did not believe in God.
C. S. Lewis stated, “Make sure that, if you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily prayers and religious reading and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed.” 2
If you have doubts about God, don’t beat yourself up. You are in good company. John the Baptist, when facing the end of his life, had doubts about Jesus as the Messiah. In Luke 7:18-22, he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus didn’t respond in anger or disappointment. He provided miracles as evidence of His identity and then sent the disciples back to John. Afterward, Jesus publically praised John rather than condemning him (Luke 7:28).
If you’ve had doubts about God, take steps to alleviate your doubt. Then continue to learn about your beliefs. Doubts can come into our lives in a number of ways, including traumatic experiences, apathy, or mistaken beliefs. No matter how doubt gets in, it will not leave on its own. Action must be taken.
Here are some suggestions for dealing with doubt:
1) Learn the factual basis for Christianity, such as the historical resurrection of Jesus!
2) Consistently think about the doctrines and beliefs associated with the Christian faith.
3) Transfer your trust from yourself to God. What’s stopping you?
Pause and Reflect
• If you have a friend or family member who has doubts about God, how can you help them through? List some practical steps to help in answering doubts.
• Remember that doubt itself does not condemn you. But unanswered doubt can slowly lead you away from trust in God. Think about ways you can commit yourself to learning about your faith everyday.
1. Gary R. Habermas, Dealing with Doubt (Chicago: Moody, 1990) [online, cited 19 November 2013]. Available from the Internet: www.garyhabermas.com.
2. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Touchstone, 1996), 125.