Help for My Doubting Heart
“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” (John 20:29, NIV)
When I want to talk to the Lord, a walk helps me get the conversation rolling. But on one particular day, even though my feet were moving forward, my heart was struggling to move that same direction. Though I was trying to pray, there were so many rumblings in my head that I couldn’t concentrate on what I wanted to say. Doubt just kept coming against every word my mind tried to form.
Sometimes I struggle to believe. It’s like my heart and mind have amnesia. I see my current trouble. I feel the weight of disappointment, and it suppresses all the memories of when Jesus has helped me.
Momentarily I forget my history with Him. I forget all the times He has been faithful, good and kind.
Like when He brought my husband into my life.
When He moved me to a place with new opportunities.
When He brought me a new friend, who is now an old one.
And most importantly, when He called me His friend and brought me to salvation in Him.
The list of His faithfulness to me would fill a bookcase of journals. In fact, it has. My journals record our history together.
Yet even with all of this history, I can briefly forget who I know my Savior to be. Consistent, faithful, powerful and perfect. He has proven He is the almighty Son of God.
I can be a bit like Thomas in John 20:25: “So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe’” (NIV). Thomas already had a history of seeing Jesus’ miracles time and time again; it’s like he, too, forgot who he already knew Jesus to be.
Then comes Jesus, intentionally reaching out to the doubting disciple: “Then [Jesus] said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe’” (John 20:27, NIV).
Like He did for Thomas, Jesus has grace for you and me in our days of doubting. He doesn’t judge us or punish us when our faith wavers. He does, however, call us lovingly: “… blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
I want to be blessed for believing.
I think you do, too. It’s one reason you’re reading this devotion. It’s why you talk to Him in prayer and seek to learn more about His ways. You want to believe. So, though we wrestle sometimes with doubt, we don’t give up believing.
As I continued my walk, I moved my heart one step forward by breathing in deeply and breathing out my doubt. My fear of the future. My anger, frustration and sadness.
I breathed in again, asking the Holy Spirit — Comforter, Helper and Teacher — to come and uphold my shaky heart. To stabilize my faith with my own memories of His goodness as well as His Word, where He has shown Himself faithful to countless men and women of God.
Shiphrah and Puah, (Exodus 1) Miriam and Jochebed, (Exodus 2) Deborah and Jael, (Judges 4) Abigail (1 Samuel 25) and Rahab (Joshua 2) are just a few women in the Bible who had reasons to doubt yet saw His faithfulness in the middle of their troubles.
I, too, will look for Him moving in extraordinary ways even in my ordinary days. We can intentionally look for evidence that He is with us and He is at work, no matter what doubt tries to say.
Dear heavenly Father, I know things may not turn out exactly as I am hoping — but Jesus, You will see me through again. This I do know. In Your Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Studying others who have pressed through hard times with God’s strength helps to strengthen us in our own hard times. Lynn Cowell’s Bible study for women is about women who found God’s strength and confidence to face their deepest fears. Order your copy of Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures.
Join Lynn on her website, where she is sharing the free resource “10 Verses to Buoy Your Faith When Doubt Is Dragging You Down.”
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Mark 9:23-24, “‘“If you can”?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’” (NIV)
Matthew 21:21-22, “Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.’” (NIV)
What doubts do you need to lay before the Lord? How can you renew your trust in His faithfulness today? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
© 2022 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.