Wrestling With God: How to Deal with Doubt
Screw this. I’ve had it. I don’t care. Im done. Maybe I’m just quite not there yet. Maybe there is some answers I’m looking for that I havent found yet. Or perhaps there is something I’m waiting on that hasn’t come to pass. Whatever my situation, I can easily say we have all come face to face with doubt and wondered a bunch of things.
-Am I supposed to be doubting?
-Does this make me a bad Christian?
-What kind of leader am I if I don’t even believe right now!?
-What would happen if I gave up on God all together?
-Is it something that I’m doing wrong?
-And the winner…HOW THE BLEEP AM I GONNA GET OUT OF THIS!!? GOD HELP ME!!
Before I go into some spiritual grappling moves with you I’d like to answer these as best as I can because this has been a personal battle for me as an introverted and overly analytical person. First of all. Doubt is a running theme through all of scripture! With rare exception to the God-Man, our Savior and Beloved Jesus of Nazareth NO ONE IN THE BIBLE was without at least a moment of doubt. Pick a person.
Jeremiah. From the moment God called him into his purpose with mighty words, showing Jeremiah his identity and explaining to him what is in store for his future; Jeremiah responds to GOD HIMSELF with doubt! Now how delusional is that?! Sounds kind of like us sometimes doesn’t it?
The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone
I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and
touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and
overthrow, to build and to plant.” -Jeremiah 1:4-19
Doubt doesn’t make you a bad Christian, doubt makes you authentic. It allows you to ask the questions you need to grow and step into Gods obedience. Maybe you were doing something wrong, maybe there were convictions we had to put aside and we didn’t face them, so we clouded God’s voice in our life. Whether that be by not stepping into our prayer life sufficiently, not learning enough about the word, or not getting rid of sin that has stayed with us for too long, doubt means there is room to grow and there are active ways to get through that dark place where you feel like God isn’t there/real/working/with you.
Don’t Investigate the Lie
About a year ago I went to a Hip Hop show in Brooklyn where Rapper JGivens talked about life in University and making it as an intellectual while not being stripped of your spirituality. He said “Don’t investigate the lie” which meant if you’re in a place of doubt, do not seek console from places that will clearly not give you wisdom of an eternal perspective. You know what I mean. Getting relationship advice for a broken heart from MTV instead of going to your pastors (these new MTV shows are pretty much just 90210 spin-offs now). Or listening to Neil DeGrasse Tyson all day instead of preachings because you’ve had it with prayer. Its easy in todays world to become “neutral” to God and say “well I won’t go to church, but I won’t do anything bad either”. The ironic part is that there is no such thing as neutral. Everything in life has an eternal influence, every show we watch, word we speak, person we hang out with is steering us either closer to God or further from him. Therefore, we pick. Are we influencing the world or being influenced by it?
Allow Yourself to Get Schooled
Odds are if you have been doubting, you strongly believed at one point. Which means you were around others who did as well. I recommend letting them see your doubt. The church is a magical place where people are somehow terrible when you’re doing great, and people are doing great whenever you’re doing terrible! God did this on purpose. We are meant to be a family.
I was talking to someone the other day who commented on how church people can be really fake or just as broken. I told them ABSOLUTELY! But the church doesn’t have a monopoly on fake people, or broken people. They are everywhere. We just know we are all there for the same reason. To be more like Jesus. And to say you don’t want to go to church because there are fake or broken people there is like saying you don’t want to go to the gym because there are fat people there (in the words of the famous meme). It just doesn’t make sense. The standard isn’t church people, the standard is Jesus. So when you’re in doubt and broken, get around those fixed people, and they will help try to fix you (cue the Coldplay song). You just have to let them, thats why God places them there.
Rememba’ Who You Ah! (Mufasa Voice)
I keep a journal. I write in it because I like writing, scribbling, designing doodling and thats just my thing. You may have your own thing. But keeping a record of all the things God has done in your life is one way to dig you out of that doubt. As I read through my journal, all of those feelings (feeling and emotions ARE NOT BAD PEOPLE!) that God gave me when he saved, delivered and took me out of the way of death, put me on the road to life and restoration come rushing back! It’s a powerful tool because unlike scripture which is someone else’s holy spirit filled account of Jesus…It’s my own holy spirit filled account of Jesus!! What could be more convincing?
Pair this with reading Ephesians which clearly stated who you are and your identity in eternity with God and you have yourself a full fledged comeback!! I’ll be expecting an invitation to your new bible study. You can subscribe to cultureandgod.com so I have your email and send me the address! 😉
So You’re Like, Really Religious.
You know those awkward times at the office when someone asks you when you started going to church, or why you go to church so much. Mostly because they can’t grasp the concept of why church is fun for you. You realize it’s time for your testimony and try to set them up by explaining it’s about to get real heavy right now but it never works. It always ends in tears or an awkward ‘I don’t believe God can do that-esq’ look on their face. Well…get yourself into one of those moments. The reward always outweighs the risk and when you see someones demeanor change simply because they have been introduced to hope, and you have been reminded of His faithfullness your doubt will evaporate. After all:
Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
11 They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.