Does Your Doubt Fool You or Fuel You?
Have you ever doubted your faith? God’s goodness? God’s sovereignty? Doubted that the way God’s Word tells us to live is really the best way? I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t wrestled with at least some of these doubts, so I’m sure you have too. These doubts actually all play a significant part in my story.
Having been raised in Christian home I began to doubt my faith in High School when I was exposed to more and more people who didn’t believe, or who believed in other gods. This led me to deeply question why I believed what I believed and if there is any basis to it, besides “because a group of people believe it.”
In Luke chapter 1 we have two interactions with doubting people: Zechariah and Mary. An angel appears to Zechariah and tell him that his wife (Elizabeth) will become pregnant despite her age and her “barrenness.” Zachariah’s reply: “How shall I know this? For I am old and my wife is advanced in years.” Zachariah’s response gets him a punishment of not being able to talk until all the angel said takes place. Just a few verses later (although it was about 6 months) and angel appears to Mary with another audacious proclamation; “You shall conceive in your womb and bear a son…” Mary’s response seems to parallel Zechariah’s. “How will this be, since I am a Virgin.” What’s weird about this interaction is that no punishment is given to Mary’s doubt-filled question. Mary’s response at the end of her conversations with the angel reveals a possible difference of how she asked the question. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Both Zechariah and Mary were given information that was understandably hard to believe yet they were treated differently; one scolded, one given an explanation. What could this mean? Mary’s response shows a heart that, despite her doubt, uses God’s promise to fuel her actions. While doubt is present, her response won’t change because of it. She is God’s servant and what He asks of her she will do. Zechariah allows his doubt to fool him. His question is not asked to gain understanding of an obedience he is already committed to. His question is laced with “this can’t be done.” Instead of using his doubt to fuel his question and his obedience, it fools him to disbelief… but here’s the thing… God still uses him!
The doubt that I faced in High School was not uncommon in many of my church friends, and, unfortunately, I’ve seen a number of them be fooled away from the truth of Christ, from a commitment to serve Him. By God’s grace, my doubt fueled me to look deeply into the claims, the philosophy, apologetics, and history of Christianity. It was my doubt that I leaned into to learn, grow, and seek truth, and on the other side of that doubt I found a richer relationship with God with a greater conviction of the truth claims of my faith.
So…may you realize you’re not alone in your doubt, and may you use your doubt to fuel you to deeper study and to seeking Truth. And may you know despite your doubts God can use you!
Here are some excellent resources if you're struggling with doubt:
The Reason for God -Tim Keller
Making Sense of God- Tim Keller
The Big Book of Bible Difficulties -Geisler and Howe
When Skeptics Ask - Geisler and Brooks
The Case for a Creator -Lee Strobel
The Case for Christ -Lee Strobel
The Case for Faith -Lee Strobel