Do you feel condemned for your doubts?

FMF: Doubt

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.’

James 1:2-8

Hands up any of you that have sometimes doubted that you will receive what you are also believing for in faith.

Yes, me too!

Double-minded? Maybe.

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Matthew 21:18-22

If Jesus is suggesting that we can never doubt, then we are all in trouble!

If faith pleases God, then what do we do with our doubt?

Let’s have a little look at Peter in the boat – or rather out of the boat!

Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:28-31

Peter spoke out in faith when he saw Jesus on the water;

he got out of the boat onto the water in faith in Jesus’ command to come;

and he actually walked on water!

The other disciples did none of that! Their brains thought ‘He’s a ghost!’ If Jesus or Peter had asked the others to walk on the water, they’d have laughed at the preposterous idea.

And so would I, probably, if I had been using my brain.

Did Jesus tell the others off for doing nothing? Or give up on Peter for doubting? Of course not. Look how powerfully Jesus continued to use all of His disciples during the rest of their lives.

Look how many times Peter messed up and was repeatedly forgiven and reinstated.

And He can continue to use every step of faith that we take.

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is Doubt.

My five minutes are up, but I want to add a few more thoughts to this.

Like with Thomas and Peter, Jesus does not rebuke our doubts and questions, but patiently teaches us and rewards the faith that we do exercise.

We are asked to believe with our hearts, not our brains. Faith is not a logical, scientific step. It is a heart thing. If God asks you to do it, then He has equipped you and you can command the universe to comply with His request.

Faith is trust in Who God is, not in who I am or what our clever little brains can figure out. He does not even want us to be wise in our own proud eyes.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.’

(Proverbs 3:5-8)

Faith is trusting in Him who can.

And God can. I trust this with my heart, not my brain or logic.

But just like the father of the epileptic boy, who in desperation and faith brought his child to be healed by Jesus, to us and to him Jesus replies:

Everything is possible for one who believes.”

And let us, like the boy’s father, reply to Jesus:

I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:21-24

All of us have moments when we feel a surge of great faith and other moments, as we step out in that faith, that we question those actions which may suddenly look rash.

Remember that our faith is in God, not in our own ability. It is often very appropriate to doubt our own capacity!

Confess your heart to God however it is, as David does in the Psalms.

Growth in faith is a process, like with all areas of maturity. God never gives us more than we can handle or expects more than our experience has allowed us to build in trust.

Jesus saved Peter from drowning, He healed the epileptic boy, He returned personally to show Thomas his wounds.

He understands and has mercy on us.

He knows where and how are trust has been wounded in the past and He cares.

Jesus meets our doubt with mercy and understanding and we are reminded in Jude’s letter to do the same to ourselves and to others.

Be merciful to those who doubt.’

Jude 22

Peter focuses on the storm and begins to sink (doubts)
Doubting Thomas: “Unless I see…”

Don’t allow your questions and doubts to be misconstrued as ‘disbelief’.

To grow in faith we need to take one step at a time, knowing that Jesus loves our steps of faith and meets our questions with tender wisdom and mercy.


13 thoughts on “Do you feel condemned for your doubts?

  1. It’s not that I am doubting,
    and to me, cancer’s not unfair,
    but you won’t find me shouting
    “I believe and I declare!”
    Do I think that God can heal me?
    Absolutely, sure He can,
    but from here I plainly see
    that such just might not be His plan,
    and I will take what I am given,
    knowing that it’s for the best,
    knowing that the life I’m living
    is not just a hard-man test,
    but a thread which has its place
    in His tapestry of grace.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “We are asked to believe with our hearts, not our brains. Faith is not a logical, scientific step. It is a heart thing. If God asks you to do it, then He has equipped you and you can command the universe to comply with His request.” I needed to hear this tonight, Dawn. It’s a heart thing. I keep trying to figure out with my logical head. Thanks for the reminder. Kath, visiting from FMF #34 this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. God is so kind to us, Dawn! I appreciate these insights, “Jesus does not rebuke our doubts and questions, but patiently teaches us and rewards the faith that we do exercise.” “Faith is trust in Who God is” and “growth in faith is a process.”

    Liked by 1 person

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