When Doubt Comes

Read: Deuteronomy 5:1-6:25, Luke 7:11-35, Psalm 68:19-35, Proverbs 11:29-31

The disciples of John the Baptist told John about everything Jesus was doing. So John called for two of his disciples,
and he sent them to the Lord to ask him,
“Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”
John’s two disciples found Jesus and said to him,
“John the Baptist sent us to ask, ‘Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?’”
At that very time, Jesus cured many people of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits,
and he restored sight to many who were blind.
Then he told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.”
Luke 7:18-22

Relate: A popular Christian website begins one of its articles with the bold statement, “Of all the sins we can commit, doubt is the one most hated by God. According to both Old and New Testaments, our doubting grieves the Lord, provokes him, causes him much pain.” I do agree with a majority of the article and it’s action steps at the end to build one’s faith. But this first sentence? It is absolutely the worst possible way they could have begun their article. Let’s be realistic, a vast majority of people who would read this article are going to be Christians who are currently struggling with doubt. No matter how well it is written, they aren’t going to wade through a nearly four thousand word blog post to seek a solution. They are going to read the first little bit. Feel even more guilty for doubt, and withdraw even further from God and the community of believers.

If you are experiencing doubt, do not feel guilty. Let me say that again. If you are experiencing doubt, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. Galileo is popularly quoted as saying, “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them.” In the passage above, John the Baptist was going through a season of doubt. And just a short moment later Jesus is telling the crowd that “of all who ever lived, none is greater than John.” I go through doubt. You go through doubt. Even people like Mother Theresa and Billy Graham went through doubt. Doubt is natural. It is not sin. What we do with the doubt is what matters.

React: Fides quarens intellectum. Faith seeking understanding. Nearly a thousand years ago, a man named Anselm coined this term as a way to explain healthy doubt. He made the bold statement that we come to faith through our doubts, not by the repression of them. Like John, he recognized that doubt will come and that there is a healthy way of dealing with it.

First, we need to admit it to others. When John went through a season of doubt, he called two of his disciples to him. He didn’t necessarily air it to the world, but he did tell some of those close to him. These disciples would have heard, multiple times, what John had said about Jesus. So John telling them he is now questioning would have been an incredibly humbling experience.

The second thing John did was to bring it to Jesus. Since John was in prison, he could not go himself, but he sent his disciples to carry a message and bring back the answer. When we go to God in prayer, He already knows the secret things of our hearts. It is for our benefit, not his information that we express our doubts. Getting it out in the open sets our hearts and minds in a position of receptivity for when and how God answers.

Finally, Jesus told those disciples to see what he has done. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are healed, the deaf hear, and good news is being preached to the poor. These are not exactly the answer John might have been looking for, but they are a demonstration of the goodness of God. Sometimes, God has had me work and search and dig hard for the answers. Other times, those answers have never come. But one thing that has never failed is that in my deepest and darkest moments of doubt. When my father died while playing basketball. When my sister and her newborn baby died on Mother’s Day. Even recently when I felt firsthand the earthquakes that have killed fifty thousand people around me, some of whom I knew personally. Even in moments like these, God has never failed to demonstrate that He is good.


Dear God,
I don’t always have all the answers. Help me to recognize that this is a good thing because it means that there is room to grow and learn and explore even more of who You are and what You have done. Whether my doubts are intellectual or circumstantial, give me the courage to be open about them with You and with Your church. Don’t let my doubts drive me to guilt and shame but rather to exploration and understanding. No matter what may come, no matter what questions might rise, help me to see Your goodness through it all.

3 thoughts on “When Doubt Comes

  1. Pingback: When Doubt Comes – Tonya LaLonde

  2. This is a wonderful post! As we see, Jesus did not go Himself and talk to John. He might have gone the next day or the next week, but at that moment He was asking John to rely on the eyewitness account of others. Jesus not stopping and going to talk to John Himself and the method of John’s death was the result or punishment of him having doubts, which is something some Christians would being saying if this event was happening today. The “proof” they use to try and make us feel guilty. I’m with you in encouraging others and ourselves to dump that garbage right in the trash. Say NO to guilt!!

  3. Great reminder BJ. Doubt is indeed a natural part of our spiritual maturation process…with a proviso. That being that doubt provokes us to ponder. Is what I am thinking valid in the light of prior experiences? Is my doubt primarily related to an emotional state? Have I contrasted this questioning with what I was certain of before. Is my underlying rationale for this doubt an excuse to back out of the struggle of being a Christian? My doubt is only healthy if it provokes me to allay its torment and seek satisfactory solutions. A little doubt here and there is a good thing. I doubt it will wreck my faith🤓!

Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s