Faith & Doubt - Dealing with Doubt
John D. Telgren

"I'm not sure that I'm really a Christian." "I don't think God is close to me." "How could God love someone like me?" "Does God really care?"

Doubts similar to these have probably surface in your life from time to time. Praise God! If you are still here and worshipping God, then Satan has not snatched you away!

Wrestling with doubt will not lead you away from God, but giving in or ignoring it will. Remember that our faith is strengthened by testing, but is not the result of it. Faith is the "assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen, (Heb 11:1)," not the conviction of things proven. Otherwise, faith would no longer be faith. "We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7)." Yet, there will still be doubts to struggle with. So here are some suggestions for dealing with doubt.

1. Rely on the promises of God and not on your own feelings. God told Joshua to "Be strong and courageous! Do no tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Josh 1:9)." "Cease striving and know that I am God (Ps 46:10)." When you experience doubts, remember that God has promised forgiveness of sins (1 Jn 1:9), to stand by us in our life (Jn 10:28; Mt 28:20), and an inheritance (1 Jn 2:25). As a matter in fact, God has given us a pledge, or "collateral" for it (Eph 1:13-14) and even put himself under oath (Heb 6:17)!

Another word about emotions. You may have felt very close to God when you became a Christian, but may not feel God is not close any more. Psalms 42. deals with the same problem. Notice how the Psalmist acknowledges God is still there even though he doesn't feel like it. So do not trust in your emotions, they have a tendency to be very fickle. Trust in the promises of God (Heb 11:1 - 12:2)!

2. Realize that popular reaction has no bearing on right or wrong. Most who reject Christianity have not thought about it deeply or investigated it. Many people base their rejection on misunderstanding. Their rejection does not nullify the truth of the Gospel. Truth is truth whether people accept it or not. It is good to remember the Parable of the Soils in Mark 4. The seed did not always grow, but the problem was the soil, not the seed. Likewise, if God's truth is not popular today, it is not because truth has ceased to be truth, but merely that people are not accepting it.

3. Don't be preoccupied with your doubts. Preoccupation with doubt places your focus on yourself rather than God. It is like an attention seeking child, demanding more and more attention as it grows. If you feed your doubt, it can become skepticism and unbelief. So don't get preoccupied with it.

4. Learn to nourish and feed your faith, rather than your doubt. Read and meditate on God (Ps 119:148), keep a spiritual diary and a prayer journal. Read devotional classics and other material that will help stimulate your thinking. Your faith will become rock solid if you feed and nourish it with God's word.