Yesterday we started discussing how we “deal with doubt.” Today I wanted to come clean with you.
I don’t really struggle with doubt.
That’s how I might have started this post five years ago. I would have been partially truthful. I don’t really struggle with believing that there IS a God, that His Son is Jesus, and that He has a plan for salvation.
But I do doubt. I just didn’t always label it as doubt.
On Monday I confessed to worrying. I combat worry on a daily basis. One of the supreme ways that worry manifests itself in my life is through the guise of anxiety and frustration. I like those words because my translation of the Bible doesn’t have Jesus saying, “Do not be frustrated or anxious” the way that he declares, “Do not worry.”
But upon further study I realized that living with anxiety was no godlier than living with worry. In fact, the words are interchangeable in most translations. (DRAT.) And besides, there are plenty of verses throughout Scripture that address anxiety.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10, NASB
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and “petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6, NIV
I have a piece of paper in my Bible with the following quote from Oswald Chambers, “Quiet tension is not trust. It is simply compressed anxiety.”
Anxiety and worry are distrust in God. That may be nothing new to you, but for me it has been eye-opening. I hadn’t ever associated anxiety with doubt. I think I just imagined it had something to do with my need for control rather than my doubt that His plans were really the best for me.
Let me give you an example. Just two years ago I was at a huge crossroads in my life. I was contemplating making a move back to Texas and had a ton of anxiety in regards to work, relationships, and life in general. I felt as though I had misread God’s Will and had somehow gotten off track. It was easier for me to associate pain and discomfort with discipline rather than something God might use to draw me closer to Him. Things weren’t going my way so I felt stressed. I didn’t see relief in sight so I became worried. When answers didn’t come in my timing I became frustrated and anxious. I was in fact doubting His goodness in the midst of my present mess.
For some of us it’s easy to have faith in the Almighty God who can create the world from nothingness and who orchestrates the days, the hours, and the minutes of our lives. That’s where I generally find myself. But if that’s you, would you stop and ask yourself this: “But do I trust Him? Do I trust Him with my days, hours, and minutes? Do I trust Him even more with the ones I hold so precious in my heart?”
It’s tempting to let distrust remain in my heart, to try and claim that I don’t have doubts. But the truth is we all have moments of doubts mixed with moments of clarity and belief. It’s been that way since the beginning of time since the serpent asked Eve if she was certain that God really did love her.
My hope is that we would come clean in the midst of our doubts. My prayer is that we would take steps to know and trust Him more and more each day… knowing that our faith will be perfected when we see Him face to face.
“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:18-22, NIV