We all doubt God at some point. In his brilliant apologetic book How Can I Know? Dr. Robert Jeffress tackles the five basic forms of doubt: natural, philosophical, experiential, spiritual, and empirical. He exposes the most common reasons for doubt, including suffering, betrayal, human intellect, and fear, then offers evidence that God exists and that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be.
It’s easy to condemn the doubt of others or feel guilt about our own questions. But the Bible offers some encouragement on these two points. First, in the brief epistle of Jude, it says “have mercy on some, who are doubting” (verse 22). There is a difference between those who are hostile towards God and those who are struggling to believe. Certainly there are those who will never believe, but part of discipleship is encouraging those who are weak in their faith. We do not determine who will and will not come to Christ, so we should all maintain the attitude of 2 Peter 3:9, “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” This is not a position of passivity or weakness. It is a reminder that people are to be saved while ungodly ideas are to be demolished. Paul said, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5a). We rescue the lost by shining the light of God’s truth through our words and actions.
When it comes to our own doubt, we must realize that it does take some faith on our part to really know God. It may be as tiny as a “mustard seed,” but at some point we must make the choice to believe the fundamental truths in Scripture. One such truth is this: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:5-6).
This is not a contradiction. We don’t overcome our doubt by pretending it does not exist. Instead, this is a promise. When we take the initiative to believe God’s word and ask Him for wisdom, He promises to show up in our lives. It’s a bit like stepping onto a frozen pond, believing that it will hold you. Until you actually do it, you will never believe that you can skate.
So if you are struggling with doubt, ask God to show up in your life. Pester Him to show you His will. Read the Bible and implore the Holy Spirit to make it come alive. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Then your doubts will fade away as your faith becomes strong.
Dr. Robert Jeffress appears on LIFE TODAY May, 23, 2013, with Randy and James Robison.