There is a kind of doubt that goes hand-in-hand with faith in God. We experience it when we’re facing failure. We know that we depend on God. We know that He is the great I Am. He is attuned to our needs, and has promised to be our fortress and our refuge. Yet when we’re facing failure, we’re not feeling very protected. We feel like we’re all alone. That’s when we have a tendency to think, “Well, God’s not here.”
We humans are “show me” types. We need to see evidence. So when bad things happen, we might think that He’s left us. This is painful, and in our pain we take it further. We think, “I have to get through this but He’s not here. So who do I depend on? I’m going to have to depend on myself. And if I have to depend on myself, then why depend on God in the first place? If He’s even real, that is. I mean, I can’t even see Him, and this bad thing is happening!” Sound familiar?
I’ve dealt with that. I dealt with it in baseball. Nothing’s a sure thing in that game. You don’t ever know. They say it’s a game of failure, but everything is based on success. I had to succeed for teams to want me to play, and to succeed, I had to depend on so many things. I had to depend on making the right pitches. I had to depend on the hitter to hit the ball to the defense. I had to depend on the defense to make the play. It was really tough when I wasn’t succeeding.
No matter what you do, in baseball or any other undertaking, you have to depend on so many things for it to go right. And when it doesn’t, you wonder about God.
A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps. (Prov. 16:9)
That’s what the Bible says, but sometimes it’s so hard to deal with. We have a certain way that we want things to go. If things don’t go the way we want them to, then we wonder if God’s even there. When we’re struggling, or we feel out of control, or we are failing ourselves and others, we want to feel better. Even though we know that God sees the whole picture, it’s really hard to surrender to His wisdom.
Sometimes it’s just so hard to believe that things are going to turn out okay. Instead we start wondering, “Do I believe in a God who’s not there?” Or we ask, “If He’s real, then why is this happening? Where is He?” In our fear, we decide to take control. We decide to rely on ourselves. We quit leaning on Him. We quit believing in Him. We doubt Him.
We forget that He’s got us!
There’s no shame in this. When you read the Bible, you realize that you’re in very good company. Our Biblical ancestors had to deal with doubt all the time, and their stories have a lot to teach us. We’ll look at this next time.