A couple months ago, I experienced an intense struggle with doubt. In my last blog post, I shared the first three things that I found (and still find) helpful when I am tempted to question God. First, we looked at Asaph, an Old Testament worship leader, and took encouragement from the realization that we are not alone in our struggles. Then, we discussed why it is important to take everything, including doubt, to God as we confess our sin and ask for His help. Finally, we highlighted how important it is to talk to other Christians, specifically those who are older and more mature, about our faith– the ups, and the downs.
This Monday, we’ll be tackling the next and final three points in our discussion on doubt. I hope you will find them helpful as you fight against this sin in your own life. If you have not yet read my first post on doubt, I would encourage you to look back and read it before moving on to this one.
#4 Go to Church
Now I say this with full realization that for the past few months, most of us have not been allowed to go to church due to quarantine. But, when your church does open up again, take advantage of it! When you are fighting sin and struggling, it is tempting to withdraw. Like a turtle, it’s easy to retract inside of ourselves whenever we feel threatened or stressed, or in this case, there is a battle going on. Unlike a turtle, however, that is actually the worst thing you could do! Let me guide your attention back to Mr. Worship Leader Asaph and his struggle with God’s goodness. Here’s something he said:
But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their [the wicked’s] end.Psalm 73:16-17, words in brackets are mine, underline mine.
Hmmm, if I had a beard right now I’d be stroking it. Asaph’s struggle with his doubts was wearisome. It was like a burden on his back. Not only that, but he was getting no headway against his sin on his own. Clarity and victory didn’t really come till he went to worship God at the temple and he was with other believers and heard God’s truth proclaimed.
Go to church, Christian. Please.
#5 Think Rationally: AKA Focus On Truth
Doubts don’t come from nowhere. There’s a reason you’re left questioning God, and usually that reason is because you are entertaining a lie. Lies are dangerous. Fatal even. It’s crucial that you identify the lie you are being tempted to believe and then turn to Scripture to tell your mind what is true instead. (I could cite those verses in Philippians, you know the ones [Phil. 4:8], but for the sake of time I’m going to leave it out).
I doubted God because I was tempted to believe a very dangerous lie. Here it is: The World’s way is better than God’s way. Yeah, I know, pretty bad, huh? In fact, this was the very same lie that Asaph was struggling with (yes, I know, we’re going back to him again). He saw the prosperity of the wicked and his flesh promptly said: “Hey Asaph, you should go that way! That way is better!” So what did Asaph do? He focused his mind on God’s truth to combat that lie. What truth was that? Let’s rewind the tape:
But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.Psalm 73:16-17, underline mine.
Asaph saw that the wicked didn’t have it as good as they appeared once he looked at the bigger picture and saw their end. All their apparent ease and comfort would be blown away in a moment and they would be sentenced to eternal torment, far away from God, in Hell.
Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.Psalm 73:18-20
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem like all sunshine and rainbows to me.
When you are doubting, the fact of the matter is, you are not thinking rationally. As my mom likes to say, “Sin makes you stupid.”
Believing lies isn’t smart. It isn’t logical. It isn’t right. So, do what Asaph did. Identify the lies, and then see what God has to say about it in His Word.
#6 You Are Not Alone (Part 2)
I guess you could call this one a bonus point. There is so much that could be unpacked from Psalm 73, but there’s one more thing I would like to highlight before I close. Let’s turn to Asaph one last time:
When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory… My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.Psalm 73:21-24, 26
When I was struggling with doubts, there was one thing I felt more than anything else: shame. I was ashamed that after all God had done for me, I was pointing my fingers at Him and questioning Him. This is why what Asaph reminds us of is so beautiful. Despite those accusing fingers, despite the doubts, God was holding my hand. I know I already said that you should turn to God when you are struggling. Here’s the great thing, though, when you do turn to Him, you don’t have to be afraid that He won’t be there to meet you. If you are a Christian, it doesn’t matter how “beastly” you act toward God, He isn’t going anywhere.
Well there you have it, folks! Our mini series on doubt has come to an end. Though I’ve quoted Psalm 73 several times throughout these two blog posts, there is so much more in this Psalm than what has been highlighted here. If you are struggling with doubt, I would encourage you to study this Psalm on your own.
So what do you think? Were these posts helpful? Have you ever struggled with doubt? If so, how did God help you through it? Let me know in the comments below or fill out the contact form and send me an email!