Show me a Christian and you will have shown me a human prone to doubt. Faith isn’t for the weak. It takes a certain amount of tenacity to stand faithful to God alone while the world calls us foolish, silly, and uneducated. It takes a level of tenacity to stand firm in faith when life, or perhaps our enemy, throws flaming arrows of difficulty at us. Sickness, death, sorrow, financial ruin, and abuse are enough to make even the stoutest believer cry out in dismay. Why does God allow such turmoil? Why is life so hard?
It isn’t just the harsh reality of this life that allows doubt to creep in. Our own sin issues get in the way of believing. Fear, insecurity, selfish ambition, greed, and pride all raise their head in defiance at faith.
In fact, faith is not for the weak or foolish. Faith is the life song of those with enough grit to quiet their prideful heart, and trust God in the deepest, darkest periods of life. Faith fills individuals with enough tenacity to cling to what is unseen when what is seen is ugly and painful. Faith is for those willing to put aside their own ideas, dreams, and perceptions and ask the unseen God of the universe to “take the wheel” and drive their life. It isn’t a crutch. It isn’t easy.
Is it not easier to live our lives the way we want? To pursue money and ambition and fame? Is it not simpler to do what makes us happy with little regard for the next person? Is it not more convenient to believe that our lives are our own and subject to no one else, not even God?
From the outside to those looking in, I know that I seem like a good person with a good life marked by good things. Others may question, what can I know of sorrow, pain and questioning God? Yet my song, the song of my soul, is His Eye is On the Sparrow because I do know sorrow. Sorrow so deep my heart sometimes feels ready to burst out of my chest under the pressure of the pain. Sorrow that tears can’t describe; the sorrow of a life touched by illness, death, murder, suicide, mental illness, poverty, and abuse. A life that was uprooted and left without a home for so many years that the idea of home seemed lost forever; a thing to be grasped that lays just out of reach.
But, even in the darkness and the sorrow, there is a knowing. The kind of centered knowing that can only be found with a solid faith foundation in Christ Jesus, carried on by the work of the Holy Spirit, and rooted in experiencing the great and gracious love of God the Father.
In those dark spaces…there is no room for doubt. Doubt is a liar. Doubt is a thief that steals our joy and gets us off the right path. And yet, Doubt is there. Always questioning, always wondering. And questioning and wondering bring new understanding and new insight. Maybe it isn’t the doubt itself that causes us to lose our way, but the fear of what we will find when we wonder.
Fear, it seems to me, is the real enemy behind our doubt. The enemy that says, don’t ask and don’t wonder and don’t grow. Fear, as Zach Williams sings, is the liar behind us whispering that the truth is too hard and too scary and too disappointing.
But, fear can’t stand and doubts melt into assurance in the face of truth. The truth is that we are wanted, loved, and precious Children of God Almighty. We are righteous without our own merit and forgiven. We are reconciled, and our souls are eternally free. The truth is that no weapons formed against us can stand and the enemy must flee at the name of Jesus. The truth is that we can suit up, arm up, and pray against our enemy and victory can be ours, in the name of Jesus. We are filled by the Holy Spirit, backed up by the heavenly hosts, and set free by the blood of Christ!!
Jesus said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8: 32 and Paul said, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…” Ephesians 6: 14. Truth takes the power away from doubt and casts out fear. So, put on the belt of truth, rebuke fear, and stand firm in the face of doubt.
No, life isn’t perfect. Sometimes we don’t understand why things happen. Pain and sorrow can be overwhelming and hard to take. Sickness can be discouraging and relentless, but even then…
Even then, I am learning to “sing because I’m happy.” Not happy with circumstances, but happy because my soul is free, restored, and whole, because my eternity is secure with Christ and I know this life isn’t all there is. In that, there is also hope. And Hope and Truth shut the mouth of Doubt.