Gathering Together

                    Doubt the Essay

 

 This writing was taken from my notes on a teaching I presented to my department at one of our weekly meetings.  I was honored to be the guest speaker.

 

After I was asked to speak, I needed to decide on a topic for my presentation, so I searched through my “fodder file.” I am sure all writers and speakers, great and small alike have one. Mine is an old cardboard box with a lid that contains many outlines for stories, copies of old letters and plenty of half thoughts scribbled scraps of paper.

 

As I went through the box, I made three piles; a definitely not, a possibility and the ones I couldn’t read what I had scribbled on those paper scraps. After some deliberation I decided on the topic of Doubt.  Like many times before, I put my fodder back in the box for the next time I needed inspiration.

 

You would think that each time I searched this box, I would organized it and dispose of the notes and cannot read.  Oh no, not me, I actually believe that some day I will be able to read my scribble.  Keep in mind my eyes are not getting any younger and the optometrist is using the bifocal word.  However, this is a story for another day.

 

It was two weeks before I was to give my teaching.  I prayed for God to give me some kind of humorous lead in or hook to draw in my audience.  Well, as you all know God is very faithful and this was no exception.

 

Less than a week before I was scheduled to speak, I was asked if it could be rescheduled from my original June date to a day in December.  It was no problem for me so we agreed.  I was still asking God for an interesting lead in.

 

In December, I was once again bumped and slotted for the second week in January.  Guess what happed in January?  Yep, you guessed it. I was bumped again and given the date of the 3rd week in February.

 

I began to think, I wasn’t supposed to be giving this teaching. I then realized that I got exactly what I prayed for. God in his faithfulness, gave me the perfect lead-in.

 

Let’s take a look at the dictionary and find out exactly what doubt is. According to Dictionary.com, doubt is: to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe. to distrust. to fear; be apprehensive about.

 

As a noun, doubt is considered a feeling or a state of being. Doubt is also a verb or an action word. That means when we doubt, we are involved in an activity that is contrary to God’s Word.

 

In other words, doubt is contrary to who God says we are, what we have and what we can do. Doubt has no substance as far as God is concerned. The only substance doubt has is what we give it.

 

I remember praying to the Lord last year or the year before. My memory is a little sketchy. The only thing I am retaining these days is water and some days I can’t even retain that. What I do remember is that I was desperately asking God for something I really needed. I knew if God didn’t come through, I didn’t have a way out of this situation. While I was praying, God spoke to me. He asked me if what I was praying for was a real need or a desired want. Before I could answer, He continued, If you are convinced your prayer is a need, then you are calling me a liar because my Word says I supply all of your needs. I am not opposed to giving you the desires of your heart but if you are confused between your wants and your needs, then you are opening the door for doubt to come in and take up residency.

 

Confusion leads to doubt. I learned that I wasn’t clear in my prayer life and I was convinced that if God didn’t answer my prayer in my time and way I was directing Him, then I believed He didn’t hear me or care enough to listen.

 

But the truth is found in these two Scriptures: Philippians 4:19 And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

 

 And 1 John 5:15 And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.

 

 

What happens when everything seems to fall into place and doors open; Oh yeah, you think of course that must be God!

 

Let me tell you a story about a girl I know very well. Almost 20 years ago, she and her husband were trying to conceive but they couldn’t; so they sought the help of a fertility doctor. She did get pregnant two or three times. Each time she lost the baby.

 

 I called her one night unaware that another attempt was made and failed. She shared with me that she knew that God was going to give them a baby because everything went their way; all the right doors opened. The insurance that covered only the first fertility attempt, ended up covering each one. What usually took six months to get an appointment with the doctor took only a week each time she called. She got very upset and angry with God. She couldn’t even talk to Him about it because she felt guilty. The only thing that was being birthed was doubt . She couldn’t understand if He was opening the doors why each conception ended in failure.


She and her husband were part of a denomination but were not attending church. I asked her if she was seeking a baby and hoping to find God in the mix or was she seeking God and praying to get a baby. She told me that she really didn’t consider God, she just assumed it was Him since everything fell into place.

 

This experience led them to a church where they got reacquainted with God all over again. Now here is the cool thing. A few years later, her mother-in-law, who was a maternity nurse called her and said that there was a young pregnant girl who was giving her baby up for adoption and wanted to know if they would like to adopt the baby.

 

Of course they said yes! When that little girl was born she went home with my cousin and her husband. It wasn’t the way my cousin would have written this story, however, she now sees how faithful God was all along and He picked out the best parents he could find for this precious little baby.

The truth is found in Proverbs 3:5-8  Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

Distraction is another key that opens the door to doubt. One big distraction is seeing or hearing that someone is living their dream. Even worst, is when you see someone living your dream!

 

It reminds me of those bands that became over night sensations. We see them at the end of their road but we never saw what it took for them to get there. We didn’t see what it cost them. Many times we don’t even know how long it took them to get there. Some over night sensations took 25 years.

 

Even after they have arrived, we still don’t know what goes on behind the scenes and the hours of work they put in to keep them there. We didn’t witness their journey, we only see their destination. Remember God is not a respecter of persons and this should give up hope that we are afforded the same opportunity. However, many of us give up before going down that last mile.

 

Look for the truth in Hebrews 12:1 Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,

 

 And 1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours.

 

Fear is a friend of doubt. He paves the way for doubt’s grand entrance. Fear has many unattractive faces but the fear of failure is the ugliest. Who hasn’t experienced failure?  How do you feel when you try something and it leads into brick wall?

 

You begin to have those conversations with yourself that maybe you should abandon that silly idea all together. Maybe this isn’t what I am supposed to be doing…I don’t get it. Then the works come into play; I tithe, I go to church….what am I doing wrong?

 

If your old way of thinking isn’t working, let’s try a new approach. Instead of thinking that the obstacle is failure; think of the obstacle as a do-over. You  have to admit, having a do-over is a great option. We make allowances for children to get do-overs.

If we are to be childlike when approaching the Lord, don’t you think He would give us a do-over? If we keep in mind who we are in Christ and not what we do for Christ, we would look at failure, turn it into a do-over and create another opportunity.

 

Romans 8:37 tells us the truth, 37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors [a]and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

As well as 2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

Not knowing or recognizing our stage leads to doubt. You know that God has given you direction (and you know for sure that this is a God thing) to be a worshiper, a writer or a speaker. Your vision is to be on TV, giving a concert in Yankee Stadium, book signings at all the Barnes and Noble stores or selling your invention on QVC. It’s like we know this is from God and we go off down the road in our own direction. Then when God wants to direct us we say, “Never mind God…I got this one.”

 

When it doesn’t work out as we planned it, we doubt what God told us. Now think about this, what if God’s vision was different from yours and that stage for worshipping wasn’t on TV or in Yankee Stadium but was a lullaby for the children’s ministry? Or the book you wrote was read to your new baby for the first two years of his life, because after that, he would be reading it to you. Or that invention you created helped in one of the local soup kitchens. Would any of these stages be any less important?  We all have a stage and it is for the glory of God. The size and place may be different for each of us but each one is just as important to God.

Let’s look at what the truth says in Jeremiah 29:11 11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

I think we can all agree about the sad state of the world. So much of what we see is contrary to the Word of God. The line drawn between good and evil gets erased a little bit more each day. Families across the globe exist in deplorable living conditions. Seeing babies die because they don’t have enough to eat.  I believe this alone brings a lot of doubt to Christians.

 

Technology opens the door to doubt right in our own living rooms. Everywhere we turn it is streaming through our computer screens and cell phones. Let’s face it, we live in a world with little hope, a lot of fear and an apathy that we are made to believe is normal and there is nothing we can do to change it.

 

However, I thank God that we can know the truth! God gave His Word which is our ammunition to fight against doubt and so let’s start fighting back with these Scriptures:

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own [a]purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Luke 22: 31-32 31 Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan [a]has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain,32 But I have prayed especially for you [Peter], that your [own] faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brethren.

Please note that all Scriptures are taken from the Amplified Bible unless otherwise specified.

 

Jackie Horn