Tuesday, May 23, 2017

When You Doubt God

There is a place where darkness slowly creeps in to your life. You might have a strong faith in God, hope for your future, and an optimistic outlook. Then something happens to change that.

A small shadow of darkness is cast into your otherwise bright heart. Then the shadow grows and grows. The tiny dark areas that were noticeable but manageable weren't worrisome, but then one day they seem to take up more and more space casting more darkness in your heart.

Maybe it's not a big change at first. Then weeks, months, or years later you realize something has happened. The light that once guided you is now a small flicker that barely cuts through the darkness that ruins so many wonderful things about life.

Doubt is a horrible thing that brings darkness into our lives. It might begin with a thought such as: Why did this happen? Where's God while I'm suffering? God, do you hear my prayers? Nothing is going right in my life.

Doubt threatens a person's faith. It makes you question things you never once questioned. It gives you thoughts that never would have entered your mind under normal circumstances. Doubt changes your attitude. Doubt reminds you of past hurts. Doubt easily finds the negatives in a situation.

Doubt is an illness that attacks a person's faith. Sometimes, it's a temporary illness causing some momentarily damage to one's faith, but the person recovers fully with no long term effects. Sometimes, it's a chronic condition that a person must wrestle with the rest of their lives because it was never treated properly. These people want to love and serve God, but they can't get beyond some things they don't understand in their lives. Other times, doubt causes debilitating flare-ups that are triggered by some event that causes emotional and mental difficulty for the Christian trying to believe through some difficult circumstances. Sometimes, it kills a person's faith causing them to walk away from God or church.

I hope you are not like me.

I hope you have never sat in a room feeling like God is no where no close to you.

I hope you have never doubted your faith. Watching someone you love suffer brings opportunities for doubt to enter. I want to logically and spiritually understand why "bad" things happen especially to "innocent" people (like babies). I want to know why sickness attacks my daughter again and again. I want to understand the reason for the pain and trauma.

In wanting to understand, I allow doubt to enter. I find myself questioning God and having thoughts about Him I have never had. My mind takes me in circles, and I can't make sense of anything. And, it's all because of doubt. That's not a good place for anyone.

That's when I hope you are like me.

I hope you have learned to recognize doubt for what it is. I hope you know to put a stop to the thoughts that pull you from God. I hope you have strength to pray, attend church, and read scripture when it feels like nothing is coming from it. I hope you make honest statements to God and ask Him for help and faith to believe. I hope you cut yourself some slack and realize that even people like John the Baptist had moments when they doubted (Luke 7:20). I hope you can stop the doubt, remind yourself of the things God has done in your life, and not let doubt become a chronic condition.

In case you need reminded, God is real. He cares, and He is your solution to your problems.

My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42 (NIV)

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