Dealing with Doubt
I’m going to take a minute to get a little personal and talk about an internal struggle I occasionally have. It’s the issue of doubt.
Now, we all struggle with doubt in various ways and shapes. For example, if you struggle with anxiety, on some level that is doubting that God is in control and working all things for the good of those who love Him. (See Romans 8:28 for encouragement on that issue!) If we struggle with addiction, on some level we’re doubting that God can fulfill our every longing. We may not call it that, but doubt shows its ugly face in many ways.
For me, my mind sometimes wanders into the “what-ifs” and “maybes” of this life. Not that I need any more convincing, because the Lord has been so good to us. I see it every day and I can tell you stories of all kinds of amazing things. Further, like Hebrews 12:1 says, “We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,” so everything in creation and everything in scripture points to the faithfulness of God. But my mind wanders still.
The worst part is that occasionally this nagging voice will pop up and say, “Wow, if you’re struggling with that, you must not have any faith. You’re probably not even saved, are you? You can’t be saved and think what you just thought.” And that nagging voice spirals me into a greater anxiety than I’d ever anticipated.
But then I found a great hope.
The Hall of Faith
I was reading Hebrews 11, or “The Hall of Faith” as it is often called. This chapter recounts the faith of many of the greats from the Old Testament. Figures like Noah and Abraham and Moses get a highlight for their incredible faith in who God is.
But someone else gets an interesting highlight. In verse 11, Sarah gets an honorable mention among the great testimonies of faith. When I read her name, I had to pause because I felt like I remembered how all this went down. Maybe this is a different Sarah. So I did some digging and sure enough, it’s the same Sarah.
So I went back to Genesis to get a recap, in case I was missing something.
Who Was Sarah?
Sarah, formerly Sarai, was Abraham’s wife. Now God chose Abraham (Abram at this time) to be the father of a nation—a nation which God would draw to himself. He led Abraham into a foreign land for him to inhabit, and promised that his offspring would populate the earth.
Keep in mind, Abraham was an old dude. He and his wife both were. They were also childless, but God promised them children. Still no children came. For 10 years, no children. Sarah grew restless. She did something incredibly human: she doubted. She doubted God’s promise.
Long story short, she gave a servant Hagar to her husband to act as surrogate, decided against that choice way too late, hated her now pregnant servant and cast her out into the wilderness with nothing, laughs in the face of God and lies about it, and then casts Hagar and her illegitimate step-child out again.
Heck of a resume.
But here’s what the author of Hebrews had to say about her, under the influence of the Holy Spirit: “By faith, Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.”
All of her history and doubt and terrible choices, and she made the Holy Hall of Fame among the faithful. How incredible is that? She got more of a write-up than David, the man after God’s own heart. Don’t miss that powerful encouragement.
Your Doubt Does Not Define You
This truth rocked my world. I don’t know who else this was for, but I know it’s something I need a reminder of often: your doubt does not define you.
Some things are hard to wrap the mind around. I totally get it. But here’s where we can put our faith: Jesus lived. Jesus died. Jesus rose again. And the Bible clearly says if you believe that with your heart and declare it with boldness, you will be saved. Everything else will fall into place in its own time, and it’s normal to wonder about it.
But you are defined by who you are in Christ, not by the times when you forget.