Carrubbers' Blog

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(6) DOUBT: Is God even real or am I wasting my life?

Half way through the book, Rachel turns to address a neglected issue: doubt.  There are times in all our spiritual journeys when we begin to question: Is this real?  Doubt is inescapable because part of the fallen human condition makes us sceptical and hostile towards God and His truth; our understanding is always limited by our finite human capacities; our sinful desires sometimes mean that consciously or unconsciously we would rather doubt than believe; our society confidently asserts that the only reality is the here/now world that we can access with our senses, so the idea of living by faith in an unseen reality is constantly undermined.  So doubt is a complex fact for us all to grapple with.  Rachel points out that we have to confront it: “Doubt is not an unimportant issue that can be swept under the rug, because at the heart of the Christian faith is not something you do, but something you believe.  Jesus is clear that we do have to have faith in him in order to have eternal life.”

Rachel grasps the nettle with both hands early on in the chapter:

“So how can you tell if you’re a genuine Christian?  Well, do you want to be one?  Is there something you in (the Spiit{ that makes you want to speak to God as your Father?  That’s a strong start.  Think back over the years you’ve been following Jesus – has your life changed?  Do you dislike sin, even if you still fall into it?  Do you ask God for forgiveness?  Do you wish that you loved others better?  If the answer to those questions is a hesitant ‘yes’ then let this truth reassure you: God has called you and he will not let you go…. Despite my wobbly faith and my faltering feelings, Jesus has got me and will not let me go.

She goes on to explore how doubts are arrows in Satan's arsenal as he wages war against our souls:

"Our doubts are not morally neutral.  Ever since the Garden of Eden, Satan has been tempting God’s people to disobey him by doubting his word… When we doubt, these are the lies the loves to whisper:

  1. No other Christian feels like this
  2. You can’t talk to God about this
  3. There’s no answer to this
  4. Best to hit pause on your faith for a while: “The way to keep following Jesus is to keep following Jesus – to put one foot in front of the other, day by day. Keep going to church, keep reading the Bible, keep seeking to speak of Jesus to others.  You’ll get through this."

She finishes the chapter retelling her experience of serving on a jury in a criminal trial.  She recounts how after they reached their decision that the offender was guilty, she began to second guess and doubt herself: What if they had made a mistake.  All those doubts faded away when the verdict was read out in court and the offender shrugged his shoulders - he was caught and he knew it.  Applying this to our present experience wrestling with uncertainty, she concludes:

“We’re living now in those moments before the verdict is delivered.  We’ve committed to the verdict that Jesus is Lord on the basis of good evidence – but sometimes we’re plagued with uncertainty.  What if we’ve got it wrong?   But don’t worry.  One day, when we come before the judge of the universe, doubt will become confidence.  Everything that seems in question now will become blindingly obvious.  All the uncertainty will disappear and clarity will descend.  Of course God is real.  Except that on that day you won’t be in the jury; you’ll be the accused…. The evidence of your sin will be stacked up against you – but Jesus will rise as your defence counsel and declare: They’re one of mine.  I’ve already paid for the crime.  Look at the evidence of the nail marks in my hands”

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