If hope is what keeps us moving and motivated, doubt is the emotional buzz kill. It’s the thought that creeps in just a moment or two after the brilliant insight or idea we had, or after we’ve finally landed in a place of trust and peace for where God can take us on our journey. It’s the whisper in our head that causes us to hesitate mid-stride, and the one thing that can defeat us before we even start to move.
Doubt is insidious. When I look at the very first time doubt entered the human equation, it was subtle, and seemingly innocent. The crafty serpent asked Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Eve, initially confused, answers, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden …” She thinks some more, and adds, “… but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit form the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'” The serpent scoffs, and makes it seem as if God is holding out on her, and even implies she’ll get to be like God if she does eat. The positive attributes of the fruit are highlighted. And the rest, as they say, is history. She eats. Adam eats. Mankind stumbles and falls. The world becomes broken.
I have found doubt works the very same way in my life. When I’m going through hard circumstances, I can doubt God really cares, or that He’s looking out for me. I hear a whisper in my ear that asks, “Did God really say …?” I start to question and feel unsure. Slowly, every negative possibility about my situation is paraded out in front of me. Sometimes, it’s all the positives about going in a different direction than the one God called me to. I struggle to keep my faith. My peace and purpose seemingly melt away before my very eyes. I get twisted up in a negative downward spiral that makes my head spin.
Ever been there? I suspect we all have. One of the best weapons I’ve found during those times is simple, really. Fight back! Fight back by reading scriptures that remind you of God’s great and enduring love for you, and of how faithful He is to us even when we are faithless with Him. Fight back by going over your journals, looking at the lessons you’ve learned and the many ways God has shown up in your life. If you don’t journal yet (which you may want to consider trying), take time to think through all the blessings God has given you in life, and all the ways He has protected you in the past. Fighting in this way increases my faith in God, and in His great purpose for my life. It reminds me of the many victories we’ve shared together. We are each encouraged, after all, “to take up the shield of faith, [with] which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one,” (Ephesians 6:16). In this life, the arrows of doubt will fly. The trick is to let faith have the last word.
For Further Thought: How does doubt play out in your life? What are some ways you can pick up your shield of faith in order to let God have the last word about your situation?
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