Why doubt can be a good thing

Why do we fear doubt? It can be a good thing.

It isn’t a sign of a weak or faltering faith.

We look at ‘Doubting Thomas’ and often despise him for his seeming weakness.

Wonder why he couldn’t just accept, believe like the other disciples.

Why did he demand and require proof?

I think it’s because his story gives us permission to question.

He paves the way for us to live comfortably with our concerns.

To raise those awkward questions, even as we live into the answers to come.

Doubting isn’t a dread disease or a certain sign of weak faith.

It’s an honest probing. A seeking after Truth.

A drawing close enough to put our fingers into nail-scarred hands which poured out sacrificial blood.

To believe better by reaffirmation. To receive by personal investigation.

beautiful-in-Gods-sight

To prise apart the worries and fears in our hearts, break through to holy wonder.

Yes, doubt can sit heavy, stir us inwardly. But if we let it, doubt will lead us to explore a God-given desire to know more.

More of love’s embrace.

More of the wondrous gift of grace.

More awe that leaves us weeping at Jesus’ feet.

Yes, He is risen.

Yes, He is really alive.

Yes, He is Lord of all.

Yes, He is Saviour and Lord of my life.

Yes, He is One to worship and adore.

We can thank God for drawing us nearer in our explorations.

Doubt can be our friend if we let it, as long as we don’t sit with it too long or allow it to take root in our hearts instead of opening us up to grace.

These thoughts were inspired by pondering this week’s five-minute-friday word of ‘doubt’. I’m joining in with the wonderful wordsmiths community over at Kate’s place where we write out our heart thoughts just as they come in 5 minutes flat. Come join us? 

**Note** – You can read the Doubting Thomas story here and see what you think about it. Different Bible translations can offer a fresh perspective.

18 Comments

  1. I agree. Thinking about the miraculous story of salvation gives me a stronger grasp on how amazing it really is.

    When I was a teen growing up in church, I started to have doubts about what I believed. I was practically ostracized. I’m pretty sure it was instigated by one of my peers, the daughter of a family influential in our church.

    I walked away from church then. I’m so thankful that God didn’t give up on me! About 15 years later I finally heard His voice through the noise of everyday life. This time I was more analytical about accepting Him, rather than believing because someone said so. My faith now is far deeper than it was when I was younger. And the more I study and meditate on His Word, the deeper it grows. No wonder the Bible tells us, in several places, to meditate on the Lord’s works, His promises, His decrees.

    We are FMF neighbors today. Have a wonderful week!

    1. It’s so sad that folk feel like they have no place in church because of their honest doubts. As a body of believers, I think there should be plenty of room for those with complete certainty and those who are still seeking answers. Thank you for sharing your story here, Melissa. I’m honoured to hear it. And I’m so pleased you are in a stronger place faith-wise because your doubts led you to deeper study and meditation on God’s Word. The more we seek to draw closer to God (while allowing for the fact that we will never fully comprehend all things), the more He rewards all who yearn to know Him better. I’m delighted to meet you and be your neighbour at FMF. Do feel free to drop by again any time. Have a blessed weekend! 🙂

  2. Very interesting response, Joy. Love the idea of doubt being an opportunity to be a little more open-minded, rather than seeing it as an invitation to batten down the hatches. Great stuff. Food for a lot of thought. Thank you. Helen xx

    1. Thanks, Helen. I’m grateful that God led my thoughts in this direction! We never know what’s going to emerge when we surrender our pens and PCs to Him, do we? My hope and prayer is to write something that others can relate to and which helps them to feel less alone with their thoughts or struggles. Bless you, my friend. Xx

  3. Joy, I love this line: “Doubt can be our friend if we let it, as long as we don’t sit with it too long or allow it to take root in our hearts instead of opening us up to grace.” Grace is such a gift. I think you’re spot on too: doubting Thomas allows us to doubt and be open to our questions. I’m parked in the 11 spot this week.

    1. Thanks, Tara. I appreciate you stopping by and I’m glad you found something here to bless you. I hope to pop across to your blog too and see what you’ve written on this topic! 🙂

  4. Thank you, Joy, for this enlightening post. Too often I beat myself up for doubting, like I’m sinning or disappointing God, but you open it up to a whole new light. That it can actually “lead us to explore the God-given desire to know more.” I love this – “Doubt can be our friend if we let it, as long as we don’t sit with it too long or allow it to take root in our hearts instead of opening us up to grace.”

    1. Trudy, I’m not surprised to hear that you beat yourself up for having doubts. It’s quite a normal reaction that I’ve had too. But God has been showing me that honest questioning doesn’t hurt my faith, but it may lead to a deeper understanding and reaffirmation of His Truth. We’re to believe with heart and mind. And as long as we don’t expect to know all things and can retain space for mystery, it’s no bad thing to wonder and ponder and seek after answers. God is ever-patient and loving, and His desire is for us to know Him more. Some of us do that wholly and completely by faith, whereas others may take a more circuitous route of sitting with doubt for a while, making deeper investigation and thirsting for knowledge, but often emerge stronger in our relationship with Him because of the journey we have taken.

  5. Very thought provoking, Joy – you took me on a whole new journey with doubt. It certainly does draw us closer to God – so long as it’s not drawing us further away. My doubt tends to spiral if I leave it unchecked. But I love that we have a God whom we can seek earnestly and honestly and He unfolds every answer before us in truth. Thanks for sharing, friend. Blessings!

    1. Tiffany, I think God has been taking me on a whole new faith journey over several months now and this post reflects the way it is evolving. I share your concern that we shouldn’t allow doubt to draw us away from God. It’s really about being honest about our doubts. Are they fear in another guise? Are they genuine obstacles to growth or merely a way of exploring and (maybe) deepening our faith in God? Each person’s answer will vary. But we can be reassured that God knows our hearts and He will always find a way to bring us home to Truth and Love, to a closer relationship with Him. Blessings. x

  6. Hi, I’m visiting from FMF. I liked your description of how questioning can “prise apart the worries and fears in our hearts, break through to holy wonder.” I’ think we all have doubts and acknowledging them and taking them to God helps us go deeper with him, rather than trying to ignore them or pretend they don’t exist.

    1. Yes, Carly, I agree with this:”we all have doubts and acknowledging them and taking them to God helps us go deeper with Him” because it’s been true in my own experience. Thanks for stopping by. I’m blessed by your visit and adding to the conversation here. God bless you!

  7. Thank you for these words “Doubt can be our friend if we let it, as long as we don’t sit with it too long or allow it to take root in our hearts instead of opening us up to grace.” The permission to question and let doubt sit a little lets me know that I am human, but also gives me that pause I need to then redirect my focus on God and His truths. Beautiful words today, friend. Blessings!

    1. Mary, you touch on the key thing with these words:”The permission to question and let doubt sit a little lets me know that I am human, but also gives me that pause I need to then redirect my focus on God and His truths.” Amen, my friend! Thank you. 🙂 x

  8. Joy, such a wonderful post! Love this > “I think it’s because his story gives us permission to question.” Yes!!! Thomas brought us such freedom to bring our questions to God. It takes courage to ask our questions. I am so glad to have read this post!

    1. Hi Joanne. I’m so pleased you stopped by to leave a comment and found something to bless your soul. Yes, it definitely “takes courage to ask our questions.”! Thank you, friend. I appreciate your contribution here.

  9. Hi!
    I love your comment about how Thomas gave us permission, through his doubting, to ask questions. I think Thomas is wonderful, and that he gets a bad rap. After all, the others believed when they told him about Jesus because they had already seen Him!

    I am taking an online apologetics class now, and we are reading Thomas Keller’s book, “The Reason for God.” I love that he encourages us to wrestle with our doubts, to pray and seek and work through them, because that is how we figure out what we believe. I’ve learned this more every day that I homeschool my children. Nothing shows up the holes in your beliefs until you try to teach them to someone else!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings,
    Selena

    1. Hi Selena. Yes, that’s the message I was aiming to get across about Thomas. I truly believe he gives us permission to question, dig deeper and lean harder because of our doubts rather than sweeping them aside or feeling guilty for having them. It’s so often in the wrestling (just like Jacob) that we can see how we actually meet personally with God. Such encounters will increase our faith. If most of us had to give an account of our faith on a regular basis then I’m sure we would struggle unless it is a real, personal and deeply rooted thing that has radically shaped and changed us. May you always have a word in due season as you explore aspects of life and faith with your family. Bless you for stopping by and adding your insights to the conversation here. I really appreciate it, and you’ve also whetted my appetite for checking out the Thomas Keller book you mention!

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