What to Do with Doubt
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. –James 1:5-8
You are not at the mercy of every doubt that comes to your mind. Like the waves of the sea, doubts will come. However, you do not have to let them undermine your faith. Doubts can actually drive you back to God’s promises, rather than cause you to back away from Him. The key is taking your questions directly to the Lord—then He can increase your faith.
Here are two definitions to help you identify doubt and respond to it with faith:
• Doubt is a lack of confidence or assurance that God will keep His promises. The more you pay attention to doubt, the less you can see of God. Doubt can’t diminish God, but it can limit your view of the One who has promised to be for you! Doubt undermines wisdom.
• Faith is an active confidence that God’s promises are always true. Faith is a glimpse of the majesty and awesomeness of God that obliterates the nagging unbelief of doubts. Your faith may not be huge, but it affirms your tiny, mustard-seed confidence that God is more than enough to meet the challenges in your life. Wise living is living by faith.
James, familiar with sailing on ships that were at the mercy of the winds and waves, described doubt in those terms: “The one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” What do winds do? Winds make the sea unstable. Waves move back and forth in a constant state of disruption. What wind does to water is what doubt can do to faith.
James 1:6 says we should pray with faith—“with no doubting.” He has just told us that “trials” and “testing” are God’s preferred method of training us into maturity (vv.2-4) and he lets us know we’re going to need wisdom in order to exercise joy as the training unfolds. We’re going to have to ask for it, expect it, and rely on it. If we don’t get God’s wisdom, we will end up “double-minded [and] unstable in all [our] ways.”
So, ask God for wisdom. Ask with the humble faith of the man who said to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief,” (Mark 9:24) and step forward with joy and the promised presence of God.
What doubts in your life need to be obliterated by the majestic God you trust?
Where do you recognize the need for greater wisdom? Have you asked for it?
Lord, I thank You for the promise of wisdom if I will ask in faith. Thank You for encouraging me not to second-guess You. As I choose to face the trials of life with joy, remind me that I’m not relying on my wisdom, but Yours. Guide me as I walk by faith, not by sight, trusting You in all things. In Jesus’ name, amen.