Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And they thirsted not when He led them through the deserts; He caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them. He split the rock also, and the waters gushed out.”
“There may be someone troubled about how (they) are to get through the wilderness. May we hear Thy voice saying, ‘My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.’”
Andrew A. Bonar
Today’s Study Text:
1. “Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts were found in the same Daniel.”
2. “And I (Belshazzar) have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts.”
“Earthly Power Versus Heavenly Purpose – Part 10
“The Doubt Dissolver”
“The best way to get your faith strengthened is to have communion with Christ.”
C. H. Spurgeon
When I face times of doubt in my life, where do I turn to have my faith increased?
How have my doubts helped me lean harder into my Father’s safe arms?
“(She) fought her doubts and gathered strength,
(She) would not make (her) judgment blind,
(She) faced the specters of the mind
And laid them: thus (she) came at length
To find a stronger faith (her) own.”
“A man or woman may be haunted with doubts, and only grow thereby in faith. Doubts are the messengers of the Living One to the honest. They are the first knock at our door of things that are not yet, but have to be, understood. Doubt must precede every deeper assurance; for uncertainties are what we first see when we look into a region hitherto unknown, unexplored, unannexed.”
Several years ago, after the death of Mother Teresa, some notes of hers came to light which contained personal reflections that dealt with doubts she had during her many years of dedicated ministry. Some individuals were suddenly very critical, calling attention to the fact that as they put it: “Mother Teresa had doubts!” I happened to view the situation in a completely different way. While I didn’t give my entire life to the care of forgotten orphans in India, I did work for charitable organizations for over 30 years, some which were working night and day in some of the most desperate places on earth. Whether it was children living on a massive garbage dump in Cairo, Egypt or boys and girls in Phoenix, Arizona living on the street or sleeping in the backseat of a car, I came face-to-face with the desperate realities of hunger, poverty, domestic abuse, drug addiction, severe mental problems and many more of the worst life gives!
Frankly, after personally witnessing the tragedies of life each day for many residents on planet earth, I would have thought Mother Teresa a total fake if she claimed to never have a doubt in her mind. As an old Greek proverb states, “The wise are prone to doubt.” Why? Well, I found an answer in a French proverb which stated that one “Who knows nothing doubts nothing.” And if this isn’t enough, in my study, I came upon one of my older reference books which had this to say about doubt, taken from a Chinese proverb which gave me this insightful thought: “With great doubts comes great understanding; with little doubts come little understanding.”
Now I please beg of you, don’t leave the Garden today thinking that Dorothy is the biggest doubter in the world. Or that I’m encouraging doubt that would cause anyone to lose faith in God. Let’s remember that one of Jesus’ closest friends, Thomas, wanted to see with his own eyes and touch with his own hands the body of Jesus before he committed 100% to the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. And when considering all the lies the Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious intelligencia of the time, had spread about the Son of God, I find Thomas’ desire to dig deeper a wise one indeed. What I’ve learned from Thomas is that of all the disciples, he was actually one who had a great faith even when others thought him to be a great doubter. And in the end, he turned into a great believer.
This is why I want to take another look at the words of George Macdonald, a Scottish author, poet and Christian minister whose book, Diary of An Old Soul, is a well-worn volume on my own bookshelf. In the quote at the beginning of our “Inspiration” portion of today’s devotional, I want to focus on Macdonald’s statement that, “Doubts are messengers of the Living One to the honest. They (doubts) are the first knock at our door of things that are not yet, but have to be understood.” These words help me understand that doubts can assist me in delving deeper into the truths about my heavenly Father and His purpose for my life here on earth.
While I want to take us for a minute off on a side track, I find it an interesting insight to uncover the fact that it was the prophet Daniel, called “Beloved by God” and the Apostle John who was called ‘the disciple that Jesus loved,’ who were both given some of the most prophetic end-time revelations of any other writers in Scripture. And when this particular thought came into my mind, I immediately realized that these two stalwarts for God had both placed themselves within the secret place of communion with their heavenly Father until the day that God could reveal the things from above to them in such a profound manner that thousands of years later, God’s children, living on earth in the 21st century can look to the books they wrote and find insight and understanding and knowledge in times of confusion.
This particular thought was only reinforced as I got out my shovel and started digging in Daniel chapter 5 where I found that within a space of 4 verses, two times the foreigners of Babylon chose to refer to Daniel as one who was “dissolving doubts,” found in Daniel 5: 12 and 16, K.J.V.
After his entire adulthood was spent under the earthly power of the kings of Babylon, Daniel’s title among the godless; his reputation in the foreign court; and his history of representing the God of heaven with honesty and integrity; led the people in the highest realm of government to label him a “doubt dissolver.”
Just to be completely clear about this label, I went to my dog-eared copy of Strong’s Concordance to check the two words found in Daniel 5 with their Hebrew meaning. The word “doubt” in Daniel 5: 12 and 16 means “tied up as in a knot.” And the word “dissolve” means “to free or to unravel.”
For a moment, a visual image flashed into my mind of my grandma’s knitting bag which was always crammed to capacity! Every once in awhile, there would be a ball of yarn which had gotten so knotted up that my poor grandmother was completely frustrated with the mess. But her solution to the problem seems to now give me a great insight into what “doubt dissolving” is all about. When grandma sought to straighten out the knotted roll of yarn, she began by looking for the two ends of the roll – where the knotted ball began and where it ended. This was the way she was able to make sense out of what happened in between.
I think all of us may have faced the following questions, yes doubts, before in our lives.
· Does God really care for me?
· Does God have a plan for my life?
· Where is God when I hurt so badly?
· If God is out there, somewhere, why doesn’t He ever answer my prayers?
· How can God let this horrible suffering on earth continue?
· Does God even love me?
Our lists could go on and on. But then, out of our bewilderment and the jigsaw puzzle of our lives, a voice is heard saying; “I am your “doubt dissolver” in your time of need. And there we stand with the two ends of a ball of yarn in our hands and way too often I find myself focusing on the knots in the middle, wondering where God is leading me and questioning what He is up to in the days of my darkness. Yet, if we will press into our Father, we will find that He is truly the expert we need at unraveling yard - and our lives as well. Day by day each knot just seems to up and disappear. And by the end of Daniel’s Diary we find this supreme promise to all the “Beloved” children of God.
“Go about your business without fretting or worrying. Relax. When it’s all over, you will be on your feet to receive your reward.”
The Message Bible
“He who testifies to all these things says it again, ‘I’m on my way! I’ll be there soon!’ Yes! come, Master Jesus! Oh, Yes!”
The Message Bible
For those of us who have faced times when the darkness of doubt has challenged our every move, do not be discouraged for God is still our “doubt dissolver.” Just as He was in Daniel’s day in Babylon. As Fyodor Dostoevsky so beautifully penned, “My hosanna has passed through the furnace of doubt.” Praise God we know the beginning and the end. And as for all the knots in between, our great “Unraveler” is taking care of the tangles we can’t undo.
“Lord, I’m in trouble. Time after time in the past when I have been sore pressed with affliction, You rescued me. Right now I don’t doubt You are planning good for me. I just didn’t know how disagreeable the journey would be. How long drawn-out, how tormenting. Dear God. You know I love You. I know You love me. You have plans for my good. Grant me patience while I wait to see how You work it out this time.”
“O Lord God,
who called your children
to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown;
Give us faith
to go out with courage,
not knowing where we are going,
but only that Your hand is
leading us, dissolving our doubts,
and that Your love supports us;
to the glory of You name.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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