Greater Than My Doubts

by Roger Barrier

We learn in the Psalms that it is alright to be honest with God and to express our doubts openly. As we commune with Him, He will give us peace and faith.

In Psalm 73 Asaph wrote about his twisted thinking as he fell spiritually out of control. We might even categorize his condition as spiritual sickness! Psalm 73:1-3: Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Asaph was taught that God was good to the upright and pure in heart and that God cared for His children, but that didn’t coincide with his experience. It seemed like the wicked he knew were prospering and he was having troubles. This is the ancient stumbling block that Job’s friends could not get over! This is the problem of the present prosperity of the wicked and the obvious sorrows of the righteous. He almost lost his faith over the discrepancy.

Psalm 73 is the personal story of an Old Testament believer struggling with a problem that almost wrecked his faith— he ultimately found his solution in the House of God.

David, on the other hand, experienced monumental hardships, personal attacks and mental anguish. He was hunted like a game bird by the King of Israel—yet, he never faltered in his faith! During those years from eighteen to thirty David lost his family, homeland, friends, security and honor. In Psalms 10 and 11 he opened his heart to reveal his deep-seated faith and confidence in God. Psalm 10:16-18: The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. Psalm 11:1-4: In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain” … The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne.

By the way, it seems that David lived with much more turmoil and yet handled his problems so much better than Asaph. There are lessons here about pain—faith—and relationships.

Asaph’s theological, rational approach to trusting God was quite different from David’s personal, emotional approach to faith.

David struggled and he ran to God—and his faith flourished. Asaph struggled and he turned to himself—and almost lost his faith.

Do you identify more with David or Asaph?

Do you wrestle more with theological issues or personal issues?

Do you take your questions to God, or are you afraid to express your doubt for fear of rejection?

How does it make you feel to know that God is not intimidated by your doubts?

How does it feel to know that God will love you and accept you no matter how much you struggle in your journey?

Fortunately, Asaph found his faith again when God spoke to him while he was worshipping in church. After seeing the eternal end of the “God mockers” Asaph bowed his head and said, “How stupid, how ignorant, how like an animal I have been.”

He closed Psalm 73 with one of the most powerful statements of faith uttered in the Bible. Notice how his relationship with God was restored. Psalm 73:23-28: Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

Two New Testament disciples had parallel journeys with David and Asaph. Doubting Thomas needed to see the nail prints in Jesus’ hands and the spear wound in Jesus’ side to believe that Christ had risen from the dead (John 20:25). Only after examining Jesus’ wounds did he cry, “My Lord and my God.” Jesus was patient enough to give Thomas the proof he needed. God doesn’t love us any less if we question Him. 

On the other hand, John the disciple lived by faith because Jesus was his close, personal friend. Jesus said “follow me” and he followed Him all the way to the cross. His faith never faltered.

Simon Peter was given a gift of faith that manifested many times—from walking on the troubled sea of Galilee to being crucified upside-down for His Savior.

Here are just a few applications to consider as we move along our spiritual journeys with Jesus.

1. All of us have unique faith-journeys. God loves us as we are and takes us close to His heart when we are plagued with doubt and fear.

2. It is all right to doubt and question God. Not only is He big enough to handle it. He is willing to meet us at the point of our struggles.

3. Both Asaph and David found strength in a relationship with the Almighty (Religion and relationship are not the same.).

4. A relationship with Jesus grows over time. Look for His hand in all things. Read Psalms, the Gospels, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians.

5. It is possible to keep walking with God even while sorting out our doubts and anger with God. Philippians 2:12-13: Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

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