God Promises to Turn Moments of Doubt into Faith Building Encounters
Suggested Reading: Mark 9:14-29
And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” and he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”—Mark 9:21-24
Who hasn’t doubted God before? Doubted the Lord’s presence, power, compassion, willingness, and sovereignty. Doubt will be a spiritual nemesis our entire life. We may not have lost faith in God but find ourselves suspended in that space where though we know in our heart of hearts—God is able, Jesus can, the Holy Spirit is willing—and human weakness or what the mind can understand or see. Doubt surfaces and pushes through. That’s what happened with the father Jesus met when he and the disciples came down the mountain after being transfigured. The man’s son was tormented by a spirit that would cause him to have convulsions and he had brought his son to Jesus to be healed.
His conversation with Jesus revealed his doubt. He was not a man without faith, but caught in the clutches of what the flesh and mind cannot grasp. He did what we all do in those moments when we have doubted our Lord, “Lord I do belief, help me in my unbelief!” Jesus did not call him a faithless man but graciously healed his son. A moment that could have ended in admonishment and spiritual crushing, ended up as the door to the man’s faith being widened and deepened. As Isaiah wrote, “A bruised reed he will not crush, a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Isa 42:3)
We can say the same for Thomas when he doubted the possibility of his Lord being alive after he was crucified, pronounced dead, wrapped in linen, and placed in a tomb. Thomas was not going to take the word of the others. They were all mourning, in shock, devastated emotionally, mentally, spiritually and who among them could be trusted to be in their right mind? It was not until Jesus showed up and allowed Thomas to touch him that Thomas accepted. It was a moment and feeling Thomas would never forget. Jesus did not crush Thomas in his moment of doubt, did not break him, or snuff him out but accommodated him and chose that moment to expand Thomas’s faith in what God can do. (John 20)
Christ comes to move us past doubt and mental, emotional, and spiritual conflict so we can experience new depths of faith and trust. Going forward we will remember the exact moment we were doubting, the circumstances we were experiencing, the situation we were in, where we were not quite sure, making statements such as, “We’ll see…” “I’m not so sure God can do that…” or “We’ll see if this or that is possible,” and the moment God did what God does: activates something supernatural and miraculous that changes everything for us; where we no longer wait to see, or entertain any smidgen of doubt, but testify with affirmatives concerning God’s power.
It is not our goal to live in the throes of doubt, or on the fringes of confidence in God, nor be limited by doubt, but when we do doubt our Lord does not disown us or accuse us of heathenish faithlessness, instead he meets us with his sweet unconditional love, with understanding and patience, with gentle admonishment, with grace and mercy, because he knows the outcome is going to be life-changing. He knows the instant he has touched our situation and brought the salve that is needed, our doubt will disappear, be washed away, and replaced with joy, resulting in increased faith. Doubt moments turned to firm faith take us from inner turmoil to the places where faith in God goes deeper, reaches higher, spreads farther than ever before. Let’s Pray,
Christ our Lord, at times we are Thomas and the father who met you at the foot of the mountain. We, just like they, believe, but must cry out for you to help our unbelief and let us touch you so we know. Lord keep us from doubt, and do not let us fall into disbelief but keep us strong and enlarge our territory of belief to be big enough to accept all things are possible through you. Amen
Pastor's wife, mother of four adult children, grandmother, Devotional Writer, Biblical Counselor, Mental Health Coach, Women's Life Coach, Avid Encourager of the young and old. Inspiring others to live their best life in Christ. Inspiring new confidence and courage, giving hope, renewing the soul and coming alongside through daily, biblical encouragement.