How I Managed Doubt In My Life

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.

Photo credit: comeonandorra / Foter / CC BY-NC

Six Years On and (Still) Surrendering to God

Written By Edna Ho, Malaysia

Six years after accepting Christ, one would reasonably expect me to have progressed in my faith. I should have become a spiritual giant without doubts or questions regarding Christianity—be it the Trinity or the virgin birth. But I haven’t. In these six years with God, I’ve encountered various moments that made me question my faith. While deep down in my heart I still believe there’s a God and that the way to heaven is found only through Christ, at times I lose heart and waver. In these moments, even the rich stories of the Bible and the foundational doctrines of Christianity seem distant and unreal.

My faith is challenged whenever I feel like I’ve failed God and He is displeased with me. Maybe I don’t spend enough quality time thinking about God or fail to put Him first in everything I do. I beat myself up in guilt whenever I start questioning whether He cares. Yet every single time, God comes through for me. Not always immediately, but eventually, in His own time. He has lifted me up from the pit of doubt in various ways.

Once, when I doubted His love for me, my church friend appeared at school, bringing me all my favorite foods. She told me God had prompted her to buy those items. Initially reluctant to stop, she prayed for a parking space in front of the supermarket. Providentially enough, a car reversed out of the parking lot right in front of her. She went in and grabbed all the food she saw, and to her surprise (and mine), they were my favorites.

Another way God assures me of His presence is through songs (even non-Christian ones). During times of doubt, God sends me particular songs that speak right to my heart and give me courage to believe again. After the recent Chinese New Year holiday, I was reluctant to leave my beloved hometown and family and head back to school (in a different state), knowing that my faith wasn’t as strong as it should have been. I was on my way to the airport with my parents when I heard Celine Dion’s song, “That’s the way it is” playing over the radio. I’ve always enjoyed that song but for some reason, I paid extra attention to the words that day. Tears streamed down my face as I realized God was using the song to speak to me, reminding me that He loved me and wanted me to persevere in my faith.

God has spoken to me through a devotional, Jesus Today, by Sarah Young. At the time, I was so devastated by events in my life, I felt I couldn’t find rest physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. I asked God why I always had to face the hard road in life, while other Christians seemed to have the easier path. A sentence from that day’s devotion came to mind: “Trust Me here and now. You are on a rigorous training—on an adventurous trail designed for you alone.” I felt instantly encouraged and knew that while God had permitted difficulties in my life, I wasn’t walking alone.

The apostle Paul mentions in Galatians 5:16–17 that there are two opposite forces always at work whenever we want to grow in God, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” We need God’s mercy and grace every day.

Fortunately, God promises us that His love will never cease and His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22–23). Let us surrender our struggles to God and depend on Him totally. Let us ask our heavenly Father to keep us from growing disillusioned and to keep our spiritual senses sensitive to Him. May the Lord bless us and keep us. Amen.

God is unfair

Written By Jordy Marteja

God is unfair.
He is biased.
Partiality is in Him.

We have compelling evidences to proof this is true.

First, consider Case 01: Jeremy.

Jeremy wakes up in the morning with bizarre perplexity and hits the hay in pondering thought. Confusion is his constant companion. He wonders, Why am I here?

Jeremy lives perfunctorily. Days are written the same; exactly as it was yesterday. Nothing new; nothing at all. What on earth is he really here for?

No doubt. God is unfair. He created a soul with no purpose. How dare He?! He just created him to be made fun of.

Next, consider Case 02: Matt.

Matt lives a devoted life. He gave up everything—glory, fame, power and wealth. He has none of it anymore.

What has he now? No house to call his own and bare pockets. A poor life. A scanty living, deprived of pleasure and luxury. His service steals his indulgence.

Meanwhile, those who live for themselves are living in bliss. They eat, drink and are merry. Perhaps they are truly the fortunate people who get life in the complete package.

The evidence is crystal clear. Isn’t God unfair?

Well, we have one final witness. Listen to him speak as we invite you into the courtroom.

John shouted, “God is unfair . . . and a MURDERER!”

The trial court was filled with tension. Everybody was murmuring, exchanging thoughts. The case resumes though, undeniably, the whole place rumbled.

Meanwhile, with a sharp look and angry words, John continued, “He betrayed his son!”

“He killed his son unfairly!

“He abandoned him!”

“He was hated and rejected! His life was filled with sorrow and terrible suffering. No one wanted to look at him. He was despised and rejected. He suffered great pain! He was wounded and crushed! He was abused!”

“Your son suffered all that because you are unfair!” He pointed at God.

“You set the rules and the world deserves to die because they disobeyed! But no . . . You sent Your Son, instead!”

God was quiet while listening to John.

John continued speaking, but at this point, with a soft and gentle voice. He spoke in a whisper, “You are unfair, God. You could have just forsaken us. We should be punished as the law prescribed and as fairness dictates but no, you didn’t mete out on us the punishment we deserve and that counts as bias on you.”

“Father . . . you are unfair . . . you are . . .” He said in agony.

At last, the Lord stood to defend Himself, “That’s love . . . My love for you . . .”

John couldn’t grasp what He meant. He asked, “Love?!”

The Lord replied, “Sacrificial love . . . that I gave my only Son that everyone who believes in Him can be forgiven and given new life.”

“I can’t understand it! What are we to you?” John asked.

“I love you,” the Lord whispered.

The session was over.

The judgment is immediately served: God is unfair . . . to HIMSELF!

Photo credit: Silvia Sala / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

ODJ: on the fence

October 29, 2013 

READ: John 20:19-29 

I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in His hands (v.25).

Picture a car perched atop a metal fence—the front end on one side and the back bumper on the other side. Law enforcement agents discovered this unlikely scene when they foiled an attempt by smugglers to cross the American border from Mexico illegally. Two men had driven up ramps to the top of the 14 foot fence, and hoped to drive the car down the same way to their desired destination. When the border agents arrived on the scene, the men fled.

Being unable to move forward or backward captures the spiritual state of some people. They want to believe in Jesus as the way to salvation, yet doubts prevent them from fully accepting this truth.

Although several disciples announced they had seen Jesus alive after His death, Thomas doubted. He said, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in His hands” (v.25). A week later, Thomas was holed up with the disciples in a locked room. Suddenly Jesus appeared and invited the doubting disciple to examine Him. Jesus understood Thomas’ doubts and provided the assurance he needed. Then Christ said, “Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (v.27).

Do you hear Jesus speaking those words to you today? Maybe, like Thomas, you want tangible evidence of the Lord’s resurrection. Thankfully, it’s possible to believe in Him without the same level of proof that Thomas had. We know this because Jesus said, “Blessed are those who believe without seeing Me” (v.29).

If you want to know Jesus, God can turn that desire into a real relationship with Him. Bring your doubts—whatever they are—to God. Search the Bible for spiritual guidance, and ask God to open your eyes to the truth about His Son. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Look up 1 Peter 1:8-9 to see the reward for trusting Jesus even though we have never seen Him. Read Mark 9:14-29 to learn how one man tried to overcome his lack of faith. 
Why might believers occasionally struggle with doubt in certain areas of their spiritual lives? Why does the Bible compare one who doubts to an ocean wave tossed by the wind? (James 1:6-8). 

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