For Anyone Struggling with Doubts
How can we know the Bible is true? If it was written thousands of years ago, is it even culturally relevant today?
As my black boots crisscrossed the brick walkway of my university campus, I thought about those questions. Some had been brought to mind by my Introduction to the New Testament class—where my professor explained a contemporary view of the Bible that contradicted many of the things I had learned in church. Others came from tweets about equality, news articles about international terrorism, Youtube videos about alternate lifestyles, and comments that friends made about the state of America.
I want to accept people but can I do that while still holding to truth? If this is my faith can I stand with it even if the world hates me? Do I really believe that God is good, that He is enough to satisfy?
In the midst of bitterness, depression, mass shootings, uncertain politics, flaming anger, terrorism, cancer, and hunger, these questions stand out even among life’s most attractive distractions.
What to Do: Cry to God
In the Psalms, David captures many moments of fear, distress, and anxiety. In his poetic language he articulates one such moment of conflict near the end of Psalm 43:
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?”
Despite David’s struggle to keep strong, his reaction to “turmoil” is consistently the same—to cry out for mercy from God and to find strength in His character. Because doubt is chiefly introspective, the way to fight it is to break its strategy: take the fight outside of your mind!
When you reach out to God, crying “I don’t understand, I need help, my faith is failing!” doubt loses its strategy of loneliness. When doubt reaches out, seeking mercy, it ceases to be doubt. Instead, it becomes faith. Thus, David follows up his question in Psalm 43 with the resolution:
“Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.”
What to Do: Acknowledge the Doubts and Seek Answers
Ultimately, doubt arrives when a person realizes that they have been constructing a puzzle and somewhere along the way lost the top of the box. It is often a lonely and personal struggle when the mind goes to war—and that is why it is so dangerous. This is why we are encouraged to seek after truth (Matthew 7:7) and to search the Bible and compare it to what is being preached (Acts 17:11). In 1 Peter 1:13, we are urged:
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
It has been said before that the greatest battle is in the mind, and that to be passive in thought is the easiest way to drown. Because doubt is a quiet whisperer and a sneaky silencer, it cannot be fought if it is not addressed. In his article called “Preach the Gospel to Yourself” on DesiringGod.com, David Mathis asks:
“Will you just listen to yourself, or will you start talking? No, preaching — not letting your concerns shape you, but forming your concerns by the gospel.”
Preaching indicates a direct effort with a direct goal—to reclaim the mind from doubt. However, this can only come about when doubts are given careful attention and the truth is actively being sought.
What to Do: Remember What You are Dealing With
Lastly, as Solomon reminds us in the book of Proverbs, the world is full of ideas, but it is not full of wisdom. Many of the counter-Christian ideas of the world are designed to pull on heartstrings, to bring up dormant concerns, and to test an understanding of the Bible itself. One of the most interesting verses that I have found about the difference between the world’s barrage of questions and the love of Christ is 1 John 14:27.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
This verse begs the question: How does the world give? Indeed, it offers remedies for pain, a life of pleasure, and a plan for world peace.
But does it offer everything? What does Jesus offer that the world can never give?
If you struggle with doubts as I do, I would urge you to counter your doubts with such questions as these—to challenge the war in your mind with queries that are not just based on circumstances, but ones that are based on eternal truth.
Fight question with question, doubt with faith, despair with hope, always remembering that doing so is not in vain.
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