At times there can be no end to the depth of our doubt. Just when we think we’ve overcome it, we find that there’s more.
It’s strange how most Christians don’t like to admit their doubt towards God, but we all hold some in our hearts and in our minds. Life batters and bruises us, we see God mishandled and misrepresented, we see fears become reality and sin invade our perfect lives – and doubt finds its way into the crevasses of our hearts and begins to fester there. If we don’t root it out and drag it into the light, it grows. It feeds on every morsel it’s given and seems to take on a life of its own. It begins to affect how we view God, which in turn changes how we pray, how we worship, and how we interact and lead.
It creates a darkness in our souls that creeps through and dims our joy, our trust, and dismantles our faith. It’s exhausting.
Can I say something to you? Maybe to myself as well.
It’s ok to doubt.
I don’t mean the doubt that is anchored in disbelief, but the doubt that makes you hesitate, that makes you fear, that wears you out because it asks what you believe to be logical questions – but are really subversive ways to undermine Spirit given faith.
God can handle your doubts. He will still love you when you don’t pray that prayer for the person you know you should, He will still hear you even if you wonder, “How can that scripture be true”.
He doesn’t leave us when we doubt.
But there is something we should know about doubt.
It is sin.
But don’t leave just yet – let me finish.
We see doubt in scripture, not unbelief – because we see that too, but doubt in some specific places:
“I believe; help my unbelief” Mark 9:24
And with Peter in Matthew 14:31 after he sinks while walking on the water and Jesus asks, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?“.
And finally with the disciple Thomas, after Jesus’ resurrection. There is an exchange where Thomas struggles to believe Christ is who He says He is, “Then he (Jesus) said to 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.” John 20:27
Jesus commands us to stop doubting.
But it’s hard, and doubt creeps in and takes over so quickly. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re filtering decisions with it, expressing joyless interaction because of it, and allowing it to lay a dimmed filter over the abundant life God has put in front of us.
Oh doubter, can I offer you hope?
Can I offer you the only hope you have to kill your doubt forever?
You are forgiven.
In Luke 7, we see a beautiful expression of love for Jesus.
Jesus walks into Simon’s home and sits at the table. A woman, a prostitute by biblical accounts, makes her way over to Christ and kneels at His feet. She begins to weep at the feet of Christ. Broken. Empty. Perhaps in realization that her rescuer is now before her. As her tears cover His feet, she has no cleaning towel or cloth, so she uses her hair to wipe off the dirt and mud He has gathered from His journey. When she finishes, she opens a bottle of ointment, most likely purchased with money from her elicit lifestyle, and covers His feet with it.
Then Christ says something important for you and me, doubter.
” “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven – for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little. And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven” ” Luke 7:47-48
Oh doubter, how big is your doubt?
How has it darkened your soul?
Repent – doubter, and believe!
Christ’s forgiveness doesn’t just come rushing in for those tangible sins we so often imagine such as murder and adultery. Christ’s forgiveness comes perfectly for your doubt as well – no matter how deeply its darkness has enveloped your soul.
When we doubt so much and for so long, the guilt and shame sit like a residue in us, making us feel as though our doubt has made us lost.
Thankfully – we have a rescuer who redeems those who are lost.
“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heaves are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
Doubter, remember, though your doubting be deep, and it’s darkness great – the miraculous forgiveness given to you through Christ shines a light through even your doubting soul and enables you to love.
To love greatly, not in small ways;
to love bravely, not with fear;
to love fiercely, with no hesitation;
to love vulnerably, exposing your weakness;
and to love trustingly, with no doubt – the one who stepped in and rescued you, Jesus Christ.
Repent and love, doubter – you have been forgiven.