Does our doubt bother God? I don’t think so, no. Some of the greatest figures in Scripture had moments of doubt as they encountered seemingly insurmountable difficulties, when believing God’s promises.
Recorded in Genesis is God calling Abraham to leave his culture, his nation, and abandon his polytheistic religion in the pursuit of the True God. Abraham was promised to be made into a great nation if he would be obedient to God’s call, but years had passed and Abraham was still childless. He and his wife were old and it was very unlikely they would be producing any children. Abraham’s immediate surroundings are telling him a different story than the future God promised in exchange for Abraham’s faithfulness. God met Abraham in his doubt.
Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, also faced a situation that seemed impossible in light of God’s promise. He was fleeing an angry brother, leaving the country that was promised to his forefathers by God. Jacob finds himself sleeping on a rock as he is preparing to leave for a foreign land the following morning. But, just as God met Abraham in his moment of uncertainty, he did the same for Jacob.
When Abraham and Jacob felt uncertain or hopeless, God pulled their attention from their immediate surroundings to something greater. God told Abraham to look at the stars or to think about the number of grains of sand, and He gave Jacob a vision of a window into heaven. Both men were told to look toward the heavens. They were reminded that there is a bigger plan in place than what they were currently experiencing.
After drawing Abraham’s and Jacob’s attention to something greater, God recounts His faithfulness to them over the years. He is reminding them that there is legitimacy to His promise. He is reminding them that He has been faithful and will continue to be, so they can be confident in continuing forward.
Sometimes we get too wrapped up in our own life. We worry about today, we worry about tomorrow, and we become anxious when plans don’t seem to line up with what we had hoped. What we’re really doing, hoping in our own strength and our own ability, is trying to be our own gods. When we inevitably fail at being god, then our world is shaken… we become self-absorbed as we try to figure out what went wrong. If we continue in this, we become ineffective and worthless as we begin to rot in a pile of self-pity.
God calls us to take our gaze off ourselves, to look at the stars… to worship Him. When we are reminded of His greatness… and of how small we are… our current situation begins to fall into its proper perspective. We begin to remember that He is working out a greater story in the world and in our life.
As we worship God and praise Him for the things He’s done in our lives and throughout history, we are reminded that He is faithful. We can have faith that the same God who is above all and is working out a plan of returning creation to His perfection, still is faithful to us in our everyday.
God is not scared of our doubts. When we express our doubt to Him, we are expressing our depth of trust in Him. I believe Psalms of lament are some of the greatest examples of a deep faith in God. Belief in a just God is expressed as the writer expresses sorrow and frustration at the injustices surrounding him (Psalm 73), belief in a present and personal God is expressed when the writer is not feeling close to Him spiritually (Psalm 42), and belief that God is the source of hope is expressed through the writer’s feelings of hopelessness (Psalm 69). These writings give us a window into the hopes and struggles of others as they seek God’s purpose in the midst of hardship.
When we bring our doubts to God, it is one of the deepest expressions of faith in God’s goodness. When we see Him in times of trouble, we are admitting that He is good… and we don’t understand why our current situation doesn’t seem to be a reflection of His goodness. Expressing our doubt to God enables us to more fully understand God’s character in the midst of our chaos.
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