Over the last several days, as the talk of reopening the state has begun to grab attention, an emotion, more deceptive than fear, has started impacting our psyches. Its name is doubt. Doubt is married to fear. They usually do not leave home without each other.
Fear paralyzes us. It influences us to do the opposite of faith. It screams. “Bad things will happen if I’m ignored!” Doubt does not work that way. Doubt uses our logic and circumstances to stir up unbelief. Fear points its finger and yells in our face. Doubt sips coffee with us in the morning and gently asks, “Can God be trusted?”
Fear and doubt are both overcome with faith that trusts in the promises of God, but since they approach us from different angles, victory over each looks different. Fear challenges us and God responds with a promise. We must then choose. Will we believe the fear or God’s promise?
Doubt comes at us with questions using logic and circumstances to stoke unbelief. God counters by telling us truth and reminding us of past encounters with Him. We then have to choose between not believing or trusting.
One classic example of doubt in the Bible happened on the last day Jesus was on earth. Jesus was speaking to his disciples and a large crowd of people who followed him. Matthew tells us when the people saw him “they worshipped him, but some doubted.” (Matthew 28:17)
Isn’t that odd…some worshipped while others doubted? Everyone there was seeing and hearing the same thing, yet not all had the same reaction.
The word doubted means “wavering, hesitant, or uncertain.” We are not told what the doubters doubted. But knowing how doubt works, I bet each doubter there was wrestling with the logic of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the emotions those events created, their past experiences with Christ and the questions of what their future would look like all converging at the same time in their brains. Put all of that together in one moment; and some began to think “Can I trust God?” We can’t be too hard on them. It happens to us.
In the midst of their doubt, Jesus gave the doubters the same purpose and promise he gave to the worshippers: “Therefore go and make disciples…baptizing them…and teaching them…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
I find great comfort in these words because there are days I doubt. There are days I am hesitant, uncertain, and waver. Yet, Jesus in his faithfulness says with mercy, “Cary, your purpose hasn’t changed and my promise is still good. You might be doubting, but I am certain about you. I am with you for the whole day everyday.”
Doubt does not scream at us. It questions us until we choose not to believe. Trusting God in a post-pandemic world is not just a safety decision. It is also a faith decision. Can we trust that God has plan? Can we trust that He has us here for a reason? Can we trust He is with us even when we leave our homes?
Unbelief or trust? Which is it for you?
Here is a song that encourages me. May it encourage you.