Monday, October 28, 2013

Wrestle With Doubt: 31 Days of Intentional Living

I remember well those Christmas mornings, anxiously staring at the clock in my bedroom willing time to speed up. Excitedly charging into my parents' bedroom and flopping on the end of their bed until they sent one of us down for it — a reply letter from Santa.

My Dad Santa wrote the best letters from the North Pole, full of creative answers to our litany of questions. Not one question stumped him. He was very real to me.

It was a time when I simply accepted what my parents said was true. I believed for a long time.

Eventually, doubt seeped in, casting a shadow over a childhood fantasy. And that doubt soon led to my unbelief — in Santa Claus.

During this same time period my understanding of God was slowly forming. Church was something my family attended every Sunday. It was part of our routine. An inherited faith that I claimed because of my roots.

I remember one day, looking outside the window of my pink wallpapered bedroom. Something exciting was happening at school that day and I prayed hard that it wouldn't rain. But the gray clouds had already begun closing in and the rain still came even though I had pleaded.

And doubt seeped in and I wondered why He hadn't done what I asked. Was God just a childhood fantasy? I felt guilty for wondering.

I kept my uncertainty to myself. I was a rule follower, after all, and people don't doubt God — or so I thought.

It was a long, arduous process where I sat on the sidelines of faith. Watching, but not really participating. Praying, but never sure whether He heard.

"Believers should acknowledge and wrestle with doubts…It is no longer sufficient to hold beliefs just because you inherited them."

Timothy Keller

I was an adult when God grabbed a hold of my heart — when He found me at the end of myself, feeling very alone and unsure about everything.

He took my doubts and my uncertainty and stepped into it. God had allowed the storm to hit, not because He wasn't there, but to show me that He was. He loved on me through people. He knew what I needed and He was faithful to provide it.

And yet, standing on the mountain, looking down at the valley, I still find myself wondering — will He come through the next time?

Photography by Christy Mae

There were times when that thought would send me to condemnation, angry that I could doubt Him after all He has done.

But more recently, I have been working to accept the doubts because they are real and heart honest.

"Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith."

Paul Tillich

Because on the other side of doubt, is a promise — a covenant God made with His people.

And I was reminded of it yesterday by my pastor, Tony Taylor. Although, Abraham struggled with doubt and wondered whether God would fulfill His promise of a son, God accepted his pleas for proof. God's response was a contract to which God had everything to lose. A contract that would later be fulfilled through Jesus' death on a cross. (Genesis 15:1-17)

Doubts often remind me to step back to see the big picture, to remember how God has come through in the past. I find peace when I ask the hard questions on my heart because God is patient with me in the process.

I believe allowing yourself to wrestle with doubts is an important part of intentional living and a way God may use to lead us into deeper faith and belief. 

Have you ever given yourself the freedom to wrestle with doubts?

What keeps you from acknowledging them?

This is a post in a series called, 31 days of Intentional Living. You can find all the posts in this series here, updated each day in October. Category: Inspirational & Faith

Also linking today with Jennifer at:


Unknown said...

I have doubted and like you felt guilty, but I realized that God is big enough to handle all my doubt and questions and lack of faith. He gets me and we go round and round, I think it is a good thing to struggle, I think it is through the struggling that we grow. Great Post!!

Jennifer @ said...

This post really resonates me. Doubt is such a big part of my own story of faith. I used to resent the doubts, but I know now they are what drew me deeper into His word, and eventually straight into the arms of Christ. I have underlined these words in my study notes of my NIV Bible: "Silents doubts rarely found answers." As such, we are very open about our questions here in our home, and we encourage our daughters to ask whatever is on their minds.

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