Dealing with Doubt

14 Jan

IMG_0347(Hey Inspired Readers – please note that I accidentally posted this a day early.  Click here to read the post on Matthew 10.)

Some number of years ago, like a tidal wave, the thought came over me that Jesus was perhaps not the Son of God. The idea seemed to come from nowhere, debilitating and strange in its suddenness. And I was unnerved. Of course, I had experienced other doubts before in the course of my Christian life, but this one came over me along with all the fear that the enemy can throw at one of God’s children.

I can only imagine what John the Baptist was feeling in the cold confines of Herod’s dungeon, and beginning to have…doubts.

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”

Matthew 11:2-3 (ESV)

This is a thunderbolt, and one of the many events/admissions in the New Testament that give it the air of authenticity. John the Baptist was supposed to be a hero, but this doesn’t leave him looking so heroic. No, I would say that weak is the better word. In fact, the only reason that Matthew would tell us about this (let alone future church leader Peter’s soon-to-come failure)…was because it really happened.

And I’m so glad it did. Aren’t you?

The story helps us because of Jesus’ reaction. In the midst of John’s incredible doubt about the very person of the Son of God, Jesus tells everyone who will listen that the Baptist is still…the greatest man ever born.

And now I don’t feel so bad.

Os Guinness has written a helpful book on this subject aptly titled, Doubt. In it, he distinguishes between doubt and unbelief. You see, Jesus always strongly condemns unbelief. He gives it no quarter. But doubt…doubt is something that wonderfully brings out the Lord’s compassion.

This is so helpful because we often condemn ourselves for doubt. For instance, when the man whose son had a deaf and mute spirit came to Jesus, the father famously condemns himself for his unbelief in the memorable words, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” But he’s really dealing with old fashioned doubt, for in compassion, Jesus graciously answers his prayer.

And yet we should not take doubt lightly. Guinness says, “Find out how seriously a believer takes his doubts and you have an index of how seriously he takes his faith.”

As for me, in the midst of my struggle, I remember simply turning to one of the gospels and immersing myself in the writings that were made for this sort of thing. As John said, “…these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31 ESV) It’s foggy now, but more than likely my sweet Diane was helpful too, as well a faithful friend (Thanks Jeff).

And who knows, maybe this little episode makes me the second greatest man ever born? Let’s just say I’m not holding my breath for that award in heaven.



Tomorrow, Thursday January 15: Matthew 12



Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Uncategorized


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6 responses to “Dealing with Doubt

  1. Mark Hron

    January 14, 2015 at 4:32 am

    Thanks Roger, Yes, I have felt the pang of doubt but I am usually reminded by myself that the evidence is overwhelming, then i have peace. Where the two come from, Doubt and Reminder I am never total sure, but I am thankful for Reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stuart Gaetjens

    January 14, 2015 at 7:10 am

    Roger, did you skip chapter 10?


    • rogerknowlton

      January 14, 2015 at 7:16 am

      Indeed I did Stuart. Please forgive. You’ll see chapter 10 in a short bit. And it’s great to have you along on the journey! I hope you and yours are doing well!


      • Stuart Gaetjens

        January 15, 2015 at 7:08 am

        I am enjoying it. The church we attend did a read through the Bible in a year project with the pastor preaching through most of the books of the Bible (one sermon per book). I like your project too since the blog and slow pace keeps people engaged and encouraged. Grace to you, Brother.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda

    January 15, 2015 at 7:27 am

    I too am glad that Matthew shared this story from Jesus’ life. It tells me God truly understands and doesn’t condemn me when I have doubts. He reminds me to bring them all to him.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lorri

    January 23, 2015 at 7:14 am

    I’m a little behind, but I have read this chapter many times and never really got the relevance until now. Like I have said before, you have a way of pealing back the pages that help me see things that I have never seen before. Thank you.



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