Dealing with Doubt
(modified from the book "Slaying the Giants in your
Life" chapter 9 by David Jeremiah © 2001 by David Jeremiah)
All of us at time have various question and
doubts. Why am I here? What is the significance of life? What would
have happened if I had chosen the other road - of marriage, of career,
of faith? when we don't have the answers we suffer with doubt. As we
consider this topic, we will find that doubt is not the opposite of
faith, but an opportunity of faith, the growing pains of an eager,
seeking soul. We could say that doubt asks questions; unbelief refuses
to hear answers. Let us consider this topic as we study the Bible in
Study of God's Word
As you go through this lesson, read the verses in
Bible to help you find the answers. Try reading the verses first in a
Bible in your own
language (Chinese) and then in
an English version.
Note: The Bible verse
references below are linked to an English version of the Bible. If you
would like to follow the
Bible verse link, it would be good to "right click" on the Bible
verse link and choose to open in new window resized the
window so that
can quickly go back and forth from this page to the verses. Try to
write down your answers to these questions.
Example of Doubt
Let us consider John the Baptist. Jesus described him as no one
greater than him (Matthew
11:11) He is described as the promised prophet of God who would
prepare the way for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah
40:3; John 1:19-23; 29-30).
Matthew 11:2-6. What was John's situation when
he sent some of his followers to Jesus (see also
Matthew 14:3-4)? What does his question say
about his faith at this time? Does this surprise you considering his
previous announcement about Jesus? why do you think John had his doubts about
Jesus now? How did Jesus answer his doubts?
Answer: It had been a short time since God had
revealed to John who Jesus was that he was the one promised in
prophetic verses in the Old Testament, and John had proclaim to the
crowd that Jesus was the lamb of God who would take away the sin of the
world (John 1:19-23; 29-30). He had heard the the voice of God
affirming Jesus as the Christ. but now, away from the crowds, within
the darkness of a prison cell, nothing seemed the same. He could not
help asking the question through his disciples "Are you the one who was
to come, or should we expect someone else?" (Note: to learn why
John the Baptist was in prison see
Matthew 14:3-4). Jesus answered by
encouraging John to check out the evidence, the His miraculous powers.
- What can we learn from this for our own doubts?
Answer: We can learn from this that
all of us at times of trials or suffering may start to doubt the
reality and truth of the claims of God in the Bible. To doubt is not
unusual for a believer. It is not a sin if we do not let our doubts
prevent us from working through our doubts and seeking the answers.
Dealing with our Doubts
To gain lesson on dealing with our doubts we have an
example in the person of one of Jesus' 12 disciples. His name is
Thomas, more commonly called Doubting Thomas. Let us learn from his
example. For background read
John 19:17-20:24. In these verses we are
dealing with two critical questions that many people have problems
understanding or have doubts about. These are that Jesus is the son of
God and the resurrection of Jesus, that He came alive again after being
dead and buried.
Now consider more carefully
John 20:24-31 and
consider the following questions.
What important event had Thomas missed (John
Answer: It was Sunday night the first day
of the week. The disciples of Jesus were gathered together in a locked
room because of their fears. Earlier that day there had been some
reports by some of Jesus' followers that He had appeared to them alive
again. As they were discussing this, Jesus suddenly appeared to all of
them in the room, all but Thomas as he was not with them. Thomas,
because he was not with the other disciples had missed Jesus'
How did Thomas respond to the announcement of the others
to seeing the resurrected Jesus (v. 25)?
Answer: Thomas was a skeptic, a doubter. He would
not believe until he had seen for himself the nail holes in Jesus
hands and feet.
What two things have we learned from Thomas' example that
can help us with our doubts?
Doubt develops in Isolation - v. 24
When we live in isolation from others we miss out
on the encouragement available to us by being with other believers. We
miss out in seeing God at work among His people. Like John the Baptist
in his dark prison cell alone, our doubts can grow. Darkness feeds
doubt; daylight has a way of dispelling the worst of it.
Doubt Demands Evidence - v. 25
When we find ourselves doubting the reality of our faith
then ask questions, evidence for your faith. We do not need to fear
that the evidence will destroy our faith completely. As we will
see, Jesus met Thomas at the point of his questions. Ask God with an
honest heart, and He will always answer you.
Note: If you have doubts about the resurrection of
Did Christ Really Rise From The Dead?
reader required for PDF file)
- What happened a week later (v.
26)? Despite Thomas' disagreement
with the other disciples, what does his presents in the room this time
tell us about Thomas? What was the result?
- Doubt Draws us Back to Christ - v. 26
It is significant that Thomas, despite his reservations,
has remained with them. Here again is the difference between doubt and
unbelief. Doubt says, "I'll stay and investigate." Thomas stays to ask the
questions and therefore receives the answers.
- What was the result of Thomas' doubting questions (v. 27)?
- Doubt Deepens our Faith - v. 27
Jesus now allows Thomas the special opportunity to acutely touch and
feel the nail scarred hands of Jesus' and His resurrected body. He had a
solid experience to strength his faith. As a result of his search for
answers to his doubts, Christ Jesus gave him a deeper understand of the
reality of his faith. God is big enough to handle the questions that
trouble you. Just be honest abut your doubts. Assurance is the reward of
the persistent seeker. (See also
Summary - The questions are the beginning of the journey, but
the answer comes finally in experience, in reaching out to touch and
to feel and in being ourselves touched by the power of the nail-scarred
- Thomas' answered questions of doubt lead him to a powerful
declaration. What was it (v. 28)?
- Doubt Defines our Faith - v. 28
Thomas is now able with confidence to announce about Jesus, "My Lord
and my God!" O the power of that statement. The emotions that must have
been involved. It is true Jesus is
My Lord and
My God! Thomas'
doubts, and questions lead him to a very personal and powerful experience
of God. The most powerful courtroom testimony is that of a hostile
witness. Thomas the skeptic replaces his questions with an exclamation of
Conclusion: How to deal with your doubts
- Don't be afraid to admit your personal doubts
- Describe your doubts clearly so you can deal with
- Acknowledge your doubts in prayer (See
- Examine the evidence carefully
nineteenth century, Friedrich Nietzche proclaimed, "God is dead." Two
hundred years later, God proclaims that Friedrich Nietzche is
dead. You can't find flaws in the Word of God; it finds flaws in you.
A lawyer by the name of Frank Morison set out to destroy the crazy idea
of Jesus' resurrection once and for all. He examined the historical
evidence with all his legal logic and evidential expertise. Morison sifted
through every possibility that might account for the disappearance of
Jesus' body and was left with only the bible's explanation. In the
end, he wrote a book called Who Moved the Stone? the only
thing it destroyed was his skepticism. Like Thomas the doubter, Morison brought
honest questions and a willingness to investigate. And God move the stone
that was in Morison's heart.
- Accept the Limitations Humbly
- Accept your own limitations - we are finite human beings
with limits to our ability to understand fully the infinite God who
made us (Isaiah
- Accept the Bible's limitations - God's Word has
every truth we need for our lives in this world, but it does
not deal with every question we may have?
- Adjust to the complexity of the universe - the more we
know about the complexity of the universe God has created the more
we realize that our minds are too small to understand the wonder of
it all (Romans