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Avoid this Wrong Move When You Doubt God

Distress is often the occasion of doubt--doubting whether God hears and sees or will even act to relieve us from distress.  That's where David was in Psalm 13 where he complains to God, "How long?"  

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long will I store up anxious concerns within me,
agony in my mind every day?
How long will my enemy dominate me? 

-- Psalms 13:1-2 (CSB)

David's plea is candid and instructive.  He makes the right move in his distress.  He cries out to God. Even when God appears to be hiding, we ought not to hide our thoughts and feelings from God.  Like David, we ought to bring those doubts to the surface to let the light of God's truth shine on them.  One wrong move we make in the midst of distress is to only engage in self-talk. When the only conversation partner is me, myself, and I, we can gradually ascribe certainty to those doubts without any testing or cross-examination.  I say this because in recent years we’ve heard many deconversion stories–people who used to believe in Christ, but no longer identify as a Christian because of X, Y, and Z.  I don’t pretend to know the details of every incident, but I do wonder how long these persons were hiding their doubts.  Did they think it was unsafe and unwise to raise their questions?  I can't change their outcomes but I can provide a safe atmosphere for people to candidly share their own doubts at FCC.

My heart for you as a pastor isn’t to conceal your doubts and questions.  I want people to be candid but also to be willing to doubt their doubts.  A true skeptic will also scrutinize his/her own skepticism.  If you have doubts, let me encourage you to bring those doubts out of the darkness into the light.  Talk through them with someone you trust and respect.  If that person is me, please know that nothing will offend me or surprise me.  I have a lot of empathy for people who doubt because Jesus surely did with Thomas (John 20:24-29).  But I want you to know this: I am confident in three things:  1) God is merciful to those who doubt.  2) I am confident in the Risen Christ who isn’t afraid of your doubts.  3) I am confident in the Scriptures to sufficiently speak to your doubts.

Have you been through a season of distress that led to doubt, and even disbelief? Are you in a season right now?  I'd love to hear from you and listen to your story.  Email me here or message me by using the messaging feature on our website or app.

Pastor Tim
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