It’s a funny thing about us human beings: not many of us doubt God’s existence and then start sinning. Most of us sin and then start doubting His existence.
If you keep burning the candle at both ends, sooner or later you will indulge in more and more mean cynicism – and the line between cynicism and doubt is a very thin one. Of course, different individuals require different numbers of hours of sleep: moreover, some cope with a bit of tiredness better than others. Nevertheless, if you are among those who become nasty, cynical, or even full of doubt when you are missing your sleep, you are morally obligated to try to get the sleep you need. We are whole, complicated beings; our physical existence is tied to our spiritual well-being, to our mental outlook, to our relationships with others, including our relationship with God. Sometimes the godliest thing you can do in the universe is get a good night’s sleep – not pray all night, but sleep. I’m certainly not denying that there may be a place for praying all night; I’m merely insisting that in the normal course of things, spiritual discipline obligates you get the sleep your body needs.
Christ never failed to distinguish between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is can’t believe. Unbelief is won’t believe. Doubt is honesty. Unbelief is obstinacy. Doubt is looking for light. Unbelief is content with darkness.
Even doubting thoughts and feelings that border on sin are better laid out before the gracious eyes of the Lord than nursed in our hearts. God will not be shocked! He knows our inmost thoughts anyway!
When the New Testament talks about doubt, whether you’re talking about the gospels or the epistles, it primarily focuses on believers. That’s very important. It’s as if you have to believe something before you can doubt it; you have to be committed to it before you begin to question it. So doubt is held up as the unique problem of the believer.
For some reason, we think of doubt and worry as “small” sins. But when a Christian displays unbelief…or an inability to cope with life, he is saying to the world, “My God cannot be trusted,” and that kind of disrespect makes one guilty of a fundamental error, the heinous sin of dishonoring God. That is no small sin.
Doubt is natural within faith. It comes because of our human weakness and frailty… Unbelief is the decision to live your life as if there is no God. It is a deliberate decision to reject Jesus Christ and all that he stands for. But doubt is something quite different. Doubt arises within the context the faith. It is a wistful longing to be sure of the things in which we trust. But it is not and need not be a problem.
Doubting does not prove that a man has no faith, but only that his faith is small. And even when our faith is small, the Lord is ready to help us.
Testing God is a lack of faith. It’s blasphemy for the created to demand that the Creator prove Himself to be worthy of our trust. True faith is not testing God, but trusting God, knowing that He is not obligated to prove His power and love at every turn.
Some of us who have preached the Word for years, and have been the means of working faith in others and of establishing them in the knowledge of the fundamental doctrines of the Bible, have nevertheless been the subjects of the most fearful and violent doubts as to the truth of the very gospel we have preached.
It seems to me that doubt is worse than trial. I had sooner suffer any affliction than be left to question the gospel or my own interest in it.
Doubt discovers difficulties which it never solves; it creates hesitancy, despondency, despair. Its progress is the decay of comfort, the death of peace. “Believe!” is the word which speaks life into a man, but doubt nails down his coffin.
I believe that the happiest of all Christians and the truest of Christians are those who never dare to doubt God, but take His Word simply as it stands, and believe it, and ask no questions, just feeling assured that if God has said it, it will be so.
Doubt Thee, my Lord? I could doubt all except Thee; and doubt myself most of all.