When I was in primary school, I used to stammer. This speech impediment hampered my conversations with friends, teachers, and parents, leaving me with feelings of inadequacy.
I started having doubts about whether I would ever have friends. Some people avoided talking to me as they didn’t have the patience to wait for me to complete my sentences. Others tried their best to finish my sentences for me, but it only made things worse and I continued to feel sorry for myself. Thankfully, the stammering stopped by the time I hit my teenage years.
Every so often, I wonder what it would have been like if I had continued stammering until today. Would I still have turned out the way I am today? Would I have fewer friends? Would I have become a person plagued by feelings of doubt and inferiority?
Most of us are no stranger to doubts in life. Even great men of faith like Moses and Gideon suffered from a lack of confidence at first: the former about his slowness of speech (Exodus 4:10) and the latter about his ability to deliver Israel from the Midianites (Judges 6:36–40). Despite this, the Lord was constantly with them, leading, encouraging, and strengthening them.
Eventually, both Moses and Gideon saw the power and majesty of God when He used them—despite their inadequacies—to accomplish His purposes. While we probably will not see such direct intervention by the Lord today, He remains by our side through difficult times.
Focusing on the One who has promised to be with us and guide us can spare us a lot of unnecessary anxiety and heartache. The following truths have helped me manage doubt in my own life:
1. Trust that the Lord is in control of everything. God has planned everything since the beginning of time; everything can be transformed by Him into something good. Knowing this has helped me to accept that whatever my inadequacies, God can still use them for His glory. I learned this when I left my last job in the IT industry in 2012 and spent the next 10 months without one. During that period, I came to accept Christ and started to help out in my Church’s school ministry—despite knowing nothing about handling kids or what it takes to serve in a ministry.
2. Pray to the Lord for wisdom and guidance. We can’t get through the uncertainties and trials of life without divine wisdom and guidance. Fortunately, God promised to give us wisdom if we asked, “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” (James 1:5). After nine months of being unemployed, I asked God for wisdom and guidance as to whether I should go back to my old job—and old way of life—or to do something else entirely. Today I am working in a place I would never have thought of in the past, doing a role I never knew I could, and yet finding joy in it, by the grace of God.
3. Share your struggles with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Fellowship with other believers should never be taken lightly. It is something worth making time to do. In the past, I used to believe that I could solve everything on my own. But when doubts arose in my mind as to whether I should take up a job in a Christian organization, it was by sharing my struggles and doubts with a fellow brother or sister and hearing their experiences and counsel that gave me the confidence and assurance to take up the job. I still remember their words and advice to this day and I thank God for them. Christian community is God-given and we should help to bear each other’s burdens and pray for one another.
The world today teaches us to face our doubts by being confident in who we are and by trusting in ourselves. But experience has shown me this is never enough. It is only with God’s help that we can truly overcome our doubt—be it through direct intervention or the encouragement of other believers. Let’s look to the only One who will never fail.