Tag Archives: Doubts

God, why?

A Familiar Question Asked in Psalm 73.

Why? Parents of young children hear this question a lot, and it is a question that comes up in all seasons of life. Sometimes, the question comes up in our relationship with the Lord.

It did for Asaph, the writer of Psalm 73. He was one of the choir directors under King David’s reign. Asaph saw the wicked prospering and the righteous being oppressed, and he wondered why.

“Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart,” Asaph writes in verse 1. Yet, it seemed all these people who had nothing to do with God were having all kinds of success. He struggled with how this could be happening, which is okay.

Asking why is okay.

It is a common misconception that Christians are to never ask why. We are just to accept things as they happen without questioning; however, the Bible records individuals of great faith struggling to always understand. Abraham, Moses, and David are just a few who struggled and questioned God, yet they were totally reliant on the Lord.

“It is not a sin to doubt. Disbelief is sin, but questioning, sincerely seeking, is acceptable to God because in the presence of God, you may ask any question you want,” according to Max Lucado.

God did not turn his back on John the Baptist or Thomas when they asked questions, and God will not turn his back on you and me if we ask questions. Sincerely seeking answers from God’s perspective will change ours.

Seeking answers from God’s perspective will change ours.

Look at how it changed Asaph’s perspective in Psalm 73. “When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God, then I understood their final destiny,” remarks Asaph in verses 16-17.

Looking at life from God’s perspective changed Asaph’s. He recognized with God there was hope in the future, but with everything else, hope was fleeting.

When you and I are confused about circumstances in our lives, we can sincerely seek answers from God. Viewing our lives from his perspective will provide us with hope. We have this hope because of the promise the Lord has made us. Trying to answer life’s ponderings in any other way will leave us longing.

We may not have the answers, but we know who does.

Asaph concludes in verse 28, “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the sovereign Lord my refuge.” With his hope resting on the Lord, Asaph had a vision for the future. Meanwhile, he may not have understood everything, but he knew God did.

With our hope resting on the Lord, we too can make him our refuge. We may not understand everything, but we know he does. With the Lord as our refuge, our hope is secure, and we do not have to understand everything because he does.

 

How Does the Lord Respond to Doubt?

Jesus responds with grace and compassion.

Experiencing doubts in one’s faith journey can seem lonely. The one having doubts may feel he or she is the only one having questions. However, approximately 2/3 of Christians experience doubts at some point. And, this is not a new experience in the 21st Century. It has been occurring since the 1st Century; Jesus’ first followers had doubts.

The Bible records John the Baptist experiencing doubts. On the day of Jesus’ resurrection, many of his disciples had doubts, and Jesus responded with grace and compassion.

He responded the same way to Thomas, who can be classified as the most famous of doubters. John 20:24-29 tells us Thomas was not present the first time Jesus appears to the disciples, and when they report the news to him, Thomas just cannot wrap his mind around it.

Verse 25 says, “But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail scars in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

Thomas is like most Christians. He experienced a season of doubt, and Jesus responded with grace and compassion.

John’s Gospel goes on in verse 26: “A week later the 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.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here. See my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.”

It is as if Jesus was in the room a week earlier when Thomas expressed his doubt, and Jesus responds compassionately and graciously.

The final statement Jesus makes to Thomas in this moment is, “Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:26). The IVP Commentary Series states another way to think of Jesus’ words is, “Stop becoming unbelieving and become believing again.” Our Christian life is a journey of faith and seasons of doubt come, but when they do, Jesus responds with compassion and grace.

If you are going through a season of doubt, you are not alone. Many Christians have asked questions and sought answers. Most respondents stated their faith was stronger after going through a season of doubt.

The Lord knows seasons of doubt come in life, and he responds with grace and compassion. Challenge your doubts by asking questions and seeking answers.

 

The Evening After the Resurrection

Jesus offers encouragement in two ways.

The doors were locked. The day had been eventful. The disciples learned of an empty tomb early in the morning, and two of them just returned from Emmaus saying the Lord had appeared to them. Though the sun was setting, the excitement continued.

As the two disciples from Emmaus were speaking, Jesus appeared in the room even though the doors were locked. At first, this startled Jesus’ followers, then they became overjoyed when they realized it was truly Jesus. Jesus spent some time with them, and he encouraged the disciples in two ways.

Encouragement to help with their doubts.

The Gospel writers recall the disciples still had doubts in their minds. Jesus understood their doubts, so he offered an opportunity to touch his hands and feet. He also ate in front of them. A ghost or figment of their imagination would not have hands, feet, or the ability to eat, so it really had to be Jesus. He encouraged the disciples through their doubts.

One of the ways Jesus encourages people with doubts today is giving them an opportunity to see his hands and feet, the church, in action. The church should help one another as well as the community. The church is a picture of Jesus and gives us an opportunity to see him in action.

I wish I could say this was a perfect picture; however, the picture is not always perfect. I can say I believe the world is a better place because of the lives of genuine Christ followers. Their love and work shined in the world around them.

Check here for more suggestions to overcome doubts.

Encouragement to share their hope.

Jesus helped the disciples with their doubts, then he sent them to share their hope.

John 20:21 says, “Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

Jesus never intended for the disciples to keep his resurrection a secret. The Lord does not intend for Christians to keep our hope a secret. He desires for us to share it with those around us.

In many ways, these pieces of encouragement are connected. The person with doubts sees the Christian community sharing hope. Our sharing of hope allows the Lord’s love to shine brightly. What ways have you found to share your hope?