Seven Ways to Deal With Doubt
Dr. Ray PritchardDr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The ABCs of Christmas, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 43 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, three daughters-in-law--Leah, Vanessa, and Sarah, and seven grandchildren. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
- 2009 Jan 12
Most Christians struggle with doubt at one time or another. Doubt is not sinful but it can be dangerous. It can also be a spur to enormous spiritual growth. It’s what you do with your doubt that matters. Here are seven simple suggestions about how to handle your doubt.
1. Admit your doubts and ask for help.
Tell the Lord about your struggles. God is not fragile. He can handle all your questions. And find some wise Christian friends who won’t put you down when you express your doubts.
2. “Borrow” faith by hanging around those whose faith is strong.
I really mean by this, stay attached to the larger body of Christ. Keep going to worship–even if it doesn’t seem to help you at the moment. Remember that you’re not the first Christian to go through the “dark night of the soul.” If you pull back from other believers, your doubts will only grow stronger.
3. Act on Your Faith, Not Your Doubts.
We know that many great men and women of the Bible struggled with doubt. Sometimes believing can be very difficult indeed. Don’t let your doubts shut down your faith altogether. Noah had never seen rain, but he built the ark anyway. Abraham had no idea where he was going, but he left Ur of the Chaldees anyway. The heroes of the Bible were flesh and blood people just like you and me. They chose to believe even when they had no idea how things were going to turn out.
4. Doubt your doubts, not your faith.
will all spend some time slogging through the Valley of Doubt. When you are
in that valley, remember these two words: Keep going! If you are in the
Valley of Doubt, don’t stop and build a condo there. The only way out is to keep on walking. Every step forward is a way to “doubt your doubts.” Soon enough the light will shine again.
Since music is the language of the heart, when we sing, we are dealing with our doubts on more than just an intellectual level. Put in a Christian CD or play a good song on your iPod or pick up a hymnal and start singing. I don’t mean just listen. I mean, Sing along. Sing out loud. Jehoshaphat put the male choir at the head of the army of Judah. While they sang, God gave a victory over the vastly-larger Ammonite army (2 Chronicles 20). Singing godly music builds your faith by tattooing the truth on your soul.
6. Let go of what you cannot know with certainty.
All of us have questions that we simply can’t answer. Often those questions revolve around the whys of life. Why did this happen? Why did it happen to me? Or to my children? Or to my wife? Or to my husband? Why did it happen now and not ten years from now? To all those questions of the heart, the answers will not come until we get to heaven. It is faith-building to say, “I understand that I won’t understand right now.”
7. Keep going back to what you know to be true.
for me, is the most important point. After considering the sufferings
of this life, and the perils and tribulations of following Christ, Paul
concludes Romans 8 triumphantly by declaring, “For I am persuaded.” And
he declares that nothing in all the universe can separate us from the
love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. In 2 Timothy 1:12 he says, “I
know whom I have believed.”
Some things you think.
Some things you hope.
Some things you know.
In times of trouble, keep going back to what you know to be true. This means consciously reminding yourself that God is sovereign, that Jesus is Lord, that God is good, and that there is a higher purpose at work even when I can’t see it.
Doubt is not a sin. It’s what you do with your doubt that makes all the difference. Don’t let your doubts keep you from Jesus. Come to him just as you are—and bring your doubts with you. He will not turn you away.
Check out If I Believe, Why Do I Doubt? for more help.