Christians are not immune to doubt


Mike Ruffin


Mike Ruffin
Religion Columnist

Friday, December 1, 2017

"He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." (James 1:6)

If the truth were ever told about the effect that doubt could have in your life, the above verse hits the nail on the head.

There is something else that’s true about doubt. It is actually expected in the life of every believer. So, don’t be discouraged when doubt comes your way. It’s never a permanent condition. Actually, the irony of doubt is that it always brings with it an opportunity to grow closer to God.

Personally, I don’t like the feelings I get in my gut from doubt either. I was embarrassed, for example, to admit in a column I wrote several years ago that a friend’s brush with death actually got me to wondering if there really was a heaven. Fortunately, it forced me to re-think my beliefs, and reminded me that only God could console me from the emptiness and shame that came with that experience.

Doubt will never give you the confidence you need to ride out the storm of confusion that it inevitably brings, but God will reward you for enduring that storm. Actually, those doubts I had about heaven years ago continue to strengthen my faith today because I searched my heart and answered some tough questions about what I believed.

It has been said that to believe with certainty, we must begin with doubting. That’s a spiritual truth that was played out in the Bible through an encounter that Jesus had with one of his own disciples, Thomas.

Thomas was not present when Jesus first appeared to the disciples after the resurrection, so he didn’t believe his friends when they told him they had just seen Jesus. "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." (John 20:25)

A week later, Jesus came to his disciples again. This time, however, he went straight to Thomas. He told Thomas, "Put your finger here, see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." (John 20:27)

Did you hear what Jesus said? "Stop doubting and believe." However, it was not before he told Thomas that it was okay to touch and see. To believe with certainty, we must begin with doubting.

Bill Gaither was once so plagued by the confusion that doubt brought his way, he wrote a song about it. But he did not write it until he was forced to answer some tough questions, too. Read the lyrics and think about his advice.

I believe. Help thou my unbelief.

I take the finite risk of trusting like a child.

I believe. Help thou my unbelief.

I walk into the unknown, trusting all the while.

I long so much to feel the warmth that others seem to know.

But should I never feel a thing, I claim him even so.

I believe. Help thou my unbelief.

I walk into the unknown trusting as a child.

Write to Mike Ruffin at mike.ruffin@devotions.com. His website is devotions.com.