Why does God allow me to suffer?
Why doesn't He answer my prayers?
Why did God allow my loved one to die?
All of us have asked questions like this, because all of us doubt God. It's normal for Christians—regardless of where they are in their faith. I believe it's important to talk honestly about our doubts. I also believe we can learn to overcome any doubt in our lives.
All of us know the story of doubting Thomas. When Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday and presented Himself to the disciples, Thomas wasn't there. When the disciples told Thomas that they'd seen Jesus, Thomas didn't believe them.
That's why we know him as “Doubting Thomas.” But Thomas did not stay a doubter. Jesus appeared to him. The Lord allowed him to touch His hands and side. Thomas believed—and eventually was martyred for his faith.
Thomas wasn't the only doubter in the Bible. The other disciples doubted, too, throughout Jesus' ministry. So did other famous men and women of faith: Abraham and Sarah, King David, Moses.
Doubt is something all humans do.
The Greek word gastazo in the New Testament means “two ways,” and that's what we translate into the English word doubt. Doubt means looking in two directions. When we doubt, we are standing between what God says…and what people say. We have double vision.
I want you to know three truths about doubt: First, doubt is honest.
It is a struggle to believe, which makes it something different from unbelief. Unbelief is a refusal to believe. Unbelief is a decision. A doubter looks for the light, but an unbeliever is content with the darkness. Second, remember that Jesus was gracious to doubters.
He wasn't hostile to Peter. He didn't reject Thomas. He didn't get offended. If you doubt, God is still your friend. He is sympathetic to your doubts. Third, realize that doubt is not sin by itself.
It only becomes sin when it causes us to disobey God—especially in the long term. For most of us, doubt is a temporary affliction. Thomas' doubts lasted eight days after Christ's resurrection. We may be doubting now, but our doubts will not persist forever.
To overcome doubt, we must make up our minds first not to turn away from God while we are doubting. We don't let doubts keep us from doing what God wants us to do.
Next, we must trust God's word. Romans 10:17 says “Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of God.” God says His Word can resolve your doubts. Not the teachings of someone who opposes God. Not our circumstances. Not our emotions. Only His Word.
Finally, we must take a step of faith and see what happens. Make up your mind not to stay in a place of indecision. Choose God. Move forward. Pursue Him. Once you do this, you experience God and your doubt turns into overcoming faith.