Everyone has doubts about God. If that’s not the case, you’re either lying or dead. The Bible has countless examples of doubt and complete unbelief — the sentiment is not unfamiliar to people in the Scriptures, and it can occur for a handful of reasons. Here are a few of them:
Broken tradition (Genesis 48)
Before Joseph’s father dies, he blesses one of his grandsons. But according to Joseph, it was the wrong one (Genesis 48:17) because, traditionally, the firstborn is supposed to be blessed instead of the younger. Rather than letting Jacob handle the blessing, Joseph attempts to take matters into his own hands and tells his father to change his mind. Jacob refuses.
Change is uncomfortable. When something against the norm occurs, we begin to question the circumstance or decision, becoming angry or discouraged. We like things our way, but often times our own agenda needs to be overhauled. It forces us to assess our allegiance to God.
Disobedience (Psalm 38)
David spends the majority of this Psalm lamenting his sin, begging for mercy from God for his transgression. Verse 3 in particular (among others in the Psalm) reveals that sin cripples him and burdens him tremendously. Shame engulfs his whole being (v. 6, 11, 17), and his ability to discern God’s voice diminishes (v. 13-14). This is a gateway to withdraw from God entirely — He is too far, so why bother?
When the hurt from disobeying God intensifies, the temptation to turn our backs on God also increases. Why bother with God altogether if the searing pain of discipline or the guilt from doing the opposite of what the Bible says only inconveniences us? David’s final response reflects a distance from God (v. 22), but ultimately he reaches out to his Savior for restoration.
Hardening (Hebrews 3)
The ultimate deception is the allure of rebelling against God, falling into the trap of deciding that there’s a better mode of life to live. The temptation’s source is sin (v. 12) , but the individual ultimately makes the call as to whether or not to carry on.
The writer of Hebrews implores us to become “partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.” Is this something you’ve reckoned with and decided to abandon? Is the great knowledge and wonder of this life superior in your mind to the Lord Jesus? The result of this stance is the inability to enter heaven (v. 19). Unfortunately, we become too indifferent to care.
Everyone has identified with each of these categories. People resort to a lot of devices to “shake it off” — you can name your own, because you’ve done it. A list is unnecessary.
But here are a few solutions provided by your handy dandy Word of God. That’s what it’s for.
1) Get over it. When Joseph’s mindset took a shot, he heard his father out, then moved on. Likewise, we can start to really depend on God rather than our too-familiar ruts.
2) Get rid of it. David’s sin burdens him, so he confesses to God that he’s wrong and lays it all down. You can’t just ignore your sin and hope it goes away. You have to face it, and then dispense of it.
3) Get it back. Hebrews 4:12 points out that the Word is “living and powerful.” While the process is painful, allowing the instruction of the Bible to truly penetrate your soul and judge your thoughts and intents is both humbling and rejuvenating. You’ll find yourself back in the groove soon enough.