Doubt synonyms: Skepticism, Mistrust, Reluctance, Confusion, Hesitation
Ouch! These are words none of us want to admit to, especially regarding our faith. Yet, if we are honest most of us have experienced every one of these synonyms at different times of our lives. Surprisingly, so did many people in the Bible.
THE MOST FAMOUS DOUBTER (John 11:16, 20: 24-29, Acts 1:13)
We all know this disciple as ‘Doubting Thomas,’ but his real battle was with reluctance to believe without a good reason. However, this man did not doubt consistently. In fact, he was willing to die because of his faith in Jesus. (John 11:16) So, when Thomas believed, he was all in – even unto death!
However, when confronted with something so outrageous as the Resurrection, he wanted proof, which Jesus willingly gave him.
Thomas’ faith remained strong. It is recorded that he stayed with the disciples after Jesus ascended. Acts 1: 12-14 tells us that Thomas was present when they chose Judas Iscariot’s replacement and was often united in prayer with other believers. He was also present when tongues of fire appeared, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2: 1-4)
MARY MAGDALENE (Matthew 27: 45-61 and John 20: 11-18)
One of my favorite moments in the Bible is when Jesus talks to Mary Magdalene after His resurrection. Her doubt came out of confusion. After all, she just watched Jesus die! She also watched as they placed her beloved Savior in the tomb, and then sat vigil.
After the Sabbath, Mary returns to the tomb and finds it empty! Unbeknownst to her, Jesus is watching her reaction. Do you think He shook his head at how obtuse she was on day three? He had told His followers He would rise.
Jesus is patient with sorrowful and doubtful Mary, but also messes with her a bit. Instead of identifying Himself, Jesus asks her, “Dear woman why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” (John 20:15)
Mary still doesn’t get it. She thinks Jesus is the gardener. Worse she suspects He is partly responsible for the disappearance of the body.
Well, if you think about it, He was responsible for the empty tomb.
Anyway, I can almost see Jesus shaking his head and smiling. And then He says her name, “MARY,” and she knows immediately.
I can’t wait until I hear Jesus call me by name.
OTHER BIBLICAL PEOPLE WHO SUFFERED WITH DOUBT
Hebrews 11 lists heroes of faith, but many of them doubted at times.
A few include Sarai/Sarah (Genesis 18: 10-12 & Hebrews 11:11), Moses (Exodus 3:10, 4:1 & Hebrews 11: 24 & 25), & Gideon (Judges 6: 15-16).
There are those not listed in Hebrews 11, but God rewarded their faith despite their doubt: Naomi (Ruth 1:20 & 4: 14-22), & Martha (John 11:38 – 44) are just two.
HELP MY UNBELIEF!
Mark 9:24, is one of my favorite verse: ‘I do believe. Help my unbelief!” Haven’t we all felt this way?
Mark 9: 14-29, describes a scenario of the disciples and religious leaders arguing. Jesus must have thought NOT AGAIN!
I picture Jesus sighing when he asks what’s going on. The disciples explained that they were unable to drive out a demon from this young boy. Jesus’ annoyance mounts at his closest followers for allowing their doubt to get in the way of healing.
Then the father of the demon possessed boy says to Jesus, “Help us, if you can.” Ah, his doubt synonym is hesitancy. Afraid to ask boldly and confidently. Hesitant of Jesus’ ability.
Did Jesus shake His head thinking MORE DOUBT! He says to the man, “If I CAN?” In our flesh many of us would walk away thinking who does he think he is, or more importantly, who does he think I AM?
However, despite the abundance of doubt present that day, our loving Savior heals the boy.
Read the entire passage and take comfort when you doubt.
- The disciples struggled with faith, and we know they were true believers.
- The father of the boy knew doubt, but there was enough faith to receive a healing.
- The man asked for help with his unbelief, AND HE GOT IT!
- God can work in our lives despite our doubts.
So, if you doubt, you are in good company, but, of course, we should try to work through out doubts.
HOW DO Y OU OVERCOME DOUBT?
I was reading Daniel the other day and it brought to mind how he prayed three times a day. I don’t know how observant most Jewish people are, but they are still supposed to pray three times a day. I think it is five times on the Sabbath and holidays. It is a sin for Muslims not to pray five times a day at set times. These prayers take 5 – 15 minutes depending if they pray only the required prayer or an optional prayer also. Although as Christians we are not required to pray a certain number of prayers or certain words each day the Bible does tell us to pray without ceasing. (1 Thess. 5: 16-18)
So, I decided to pray three times a day. I set the timer on my phone to remind me. My morning prayer was my normal quiet time with God, but I tried to pray an additional three times during the day, and if the place permitted, like Daniel, I kneeled. I pray what God puts on my heart or the Lord’s Prayer. This helped me learn to pray without ceasing. This practice helped me stay in an attitude of prayer and be aware of of God’s presence constantly. It helped me during a season of doubt by keeping my focus on God.
Okay, it’s your turn, please tell us in the comments what makes you doubt and ways you overcome this unwanted feeling. You just might help a sister in Christ.
BLESSINGS UNTIL NEXT TIME.
Perhaps we will meet someday: if not in this life, surely in the next.