We all experience it from time to time and on different levels as we walk with God. The reasons are varied and are deeply tied to our brokenness, our wounding, and, yes, our sin. Over the years, I have come to understand a few truths that have helped me to defeat the attacks of the enemy in the context of spiritual doubt.
The first is that faith is not the opposite of doubt; assurance is. When we experience doubt it is not because we don’t have enough information. We doubt because we don’t have enough relationship. We come from doubt to faith in the assurance that is built through our personal, specific relationship with God.
Until we personally and specifically cultivate our relationship with God in the fullness of Christ’s work in our lives, it really doesn’t matter how much “information” or “knowledge” we have about God. We will still be prone to doubt and the evil one will be able to leverage that “knowledge” against us; and, until what true knowledge of God we do have moves from our head to our hearts, the same is also true. We are vulnerable.
It is also ok to ask the tough questions. To ask honest questions of God is not, in and of itself, doubt; especially when we are in the midst of pain or suffering. It is in our honest questioning that God speaks and draws us into himself; which is the fullest form of assurance beyond anything we could ever conjure up in our mind (Ephesians 3:16-19).
Lastly, we are not primarily rational. We are primarily thirsty. It is only when we recognize and lean into our thirst that we begin the journey of desire that leads us to the deep, abiding relationship with God that Jesus prays for us (John 17:20-26). To the healing and restoration that Jesus offers (John 4 & 5). And, to the love of God and others that surpasses all understanding (Romans 8:38-39; Ephesians 3:16-19).
The journey of desire that Jesus sets us on and calls us to is one of both miraculous healing and a “long obedience in the same direction.” The miraculous found in both the large and dramatic; and, the small and subtle. The “long obedience” found in counsel and process over days, months and years.
Unfortunately, most of us live in a world and culture that expects and demands the immediate. Microwave meals. Twitter news. Emoji texts. Crisis resolution in a “sitcom thirty minutes." We lean toward compartmentalizing our lives and have generally come to believe that life is a series of small disconnected events that should take little real effort on our part. We have lost the art of the long, slow development of relationship and self-awareness.
We have also lost our expectation of the miraculous. The powerful, most often subtle, movement of God and the building of relationships that lead to a true knowledge of the other. That open us up to the large and small “ah ha” moments where the Spirit asks “Will you drop that rock from you backpack?” If we say “Yes”, we are then able to look expectantly to what’s next as we seek life to the full as Jesus promised (John 10:10).
That is life with God. One moment at a time. For the rest of our lives. One subtly doubt free wonderful day at a time!