Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dealing with Doubt

“I just don’t know what I believe.”

“I’m not sure about heaven.”

“I just don’t think a loving God would make me go through this hard stuff. I just don’t know . . .”

These past several months, something very strange has been happening. God has been placing people who doubt in my path.

It took a while for me to see it, but recently it hit me hard. People I care about are having serious doubts about God and faith.

To be honest, I don’t really know how to deal with it. I wonder, why me? I am not equipped to handle their questions. I’m no theologian, that’s for sure. Doubt is real and scary and too big for me to handle. It makes me feel all squirmy and uncomfortable.

But here’s the thing. I think we all have to deal with doubt every now and then in order to really make our faith our own. And every now and then people we love will struggle. I wonder, will we pat them on the back and tell them that everything will be O.K. or will we really be there to help them through their crisis of faith?

I want to be a helper, I really do, but until recently I wasn’t sure how to do that.

I’m still learning, but I’ve come up with a few ideas that I think might be helpful, so I’ll be sharing them over the next few weeks in a series titled, “Dealing with Doubt.” If you’re a doubter or you know someone who doubts, please hang with me for the next few weeks as we explore this topic together.

Tell me your thoughts about doubt. Your questions. Let’s do this together.

Next week: Dealing with Doubt: Know what you’re dealing with.



  1. Oh my how timely this is. I was just talking to a friend this morning about how hard it is sometimes. I've had a sudden death in my family, someone who most certainly was too young to go and it's really shaken my faith.

    I know in my head there is a reason and a path and in the end I'll see God's timeline and understand but with my heart right now I'm really struggling.

  2. Oh, I so understand this. Thanks for the comment, and I'll be praying for you.

  3. It is so lovely the way God chooses to use us in others' lives. And we all get to benefit too. I am so glad you will be sharing what you are learning. Such an important topic, Shelly.


  4. I sort of have come to the conclusion that working through doubts will really make your faith your own, and doubts will creep up here & there at different points - especially when you're really vulnerable. One thing that stuck in my mind from one of those times was John the Baptist. In Matthew 11, we see that, from prison, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah, or if they should keep on looking. No doubt John wondered what was going on...I doubt it was the Messiah scenario he had in mind as he sat in prison waiting for the axe to fall. Jesus didn't lose it on him, with the 'how could you?' deal. And I came away from that thinking that it's ok to doubt. To ask hard questions. And when understanding seems impossible, as it does with some things, you have to trust Him. Yup, faith. Easier said than done, isn't it? But I love that I can ask God the hard questions, and know that He already knows I have them. I love thinking of my relationship with my Lord as *interactive*. My husband put a cd that he burned for me in my car player. Casting Crowns. 2 songs that especially have touched my heart are 'Come to the Well' & 'Already There'. Last fall I was just so ticked off at God, and wondering if He really knew what He was doing. Cuz, you know, don't I DESERVE smooth sailing?? And He knew...He heard me getting my freak on, and He spoke to me. Really spoke. And right after that, I heard 'Already There' playing, and just sorta lost it in the car while I was driving. The ugly cry. But I'll never forget it. And when doubts creep in, I point back to that moment, and relax into trust. Not everyone's experience, but it sure worked for me!

    Anyhows, this is so loooong...sorry about that. But I feel really strongly that we need to acknowledge and talk about our doubts & questions, encourage, and lift each other up. I'm glad the Lord is going to use you to do this!

  5. I think that the very word 'faith' implies 'doubt.' Faith is believing without seeing and as faith grows, it grows because of questions, doubts, and God's answers. Doubt helps faith grow.

  6. Doubting is hard to deal with...but questioning is FINE!! And good, in fact.

    But I am really looking forward to hearing your wisdom - I learn lots from you (especially with how to deal with my children's doubts as they get older).


  7. The wonderful thing about God is - He can handle it. Throw your questions at Him. He will show himself. But you have to keep your eyes open!

    Wonderful post!

  8. Our pastor just addressed this issue this Sunday with Mark 9:14-29. The verse that sticks out in my mind is Mark 9:24b where the father of the boy says to Jesus "I do believe; help my unbelief." I think we all share that feeling at different times of our lives. Part of the lesson Jesus was teaching here is reflected in the last verse of that passage "This kind (spirit-demon) cannot come out by anything but prayer."
    Will pray for you as you are serving Him.

  9. Hey Shelly!

    I have read several of your posts without commenting, and then today I read three in one sitting. It's about time I let you know that I AM still reading!

    I love that you're doing this series. Dealing with doubt is an issue that affects nearly all of us at some time--all of us who are willing to be honest, that is. One of the things I particularly love about God is that He's more than willing to let us doubt. He welcomes all our honest thoughts and feelings.

    The fact that you're not a theologian? That's a good thing, as far as I can see. Some days I want to scream at some of the BAD theology out there. People believe some ridiculous things about God! I always find comfort and joy in John's epistles. I love that John says that the message he declares (hard to distill things into one lesson, don't you think?) is that "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (I John 1:5). Oh, that people could believe and understand that God is good! You may not be a theologian, but you can give a true, trustworthy testimony that God is good--and that makes you the perfect person to help those who are doubting.

    Gosh, now I've written the world's longest comment! But at least you'll know I was here. :)