Hope for When We Wrestle with Doubt

Hope for When We Wrestle with Doubt

by: Helen Hummel

It’s a feeling I’m well-acquainted with. Perhaps it’s one you wrestle with from time to time, too. Maybe you’ve been a Christian for many years, but all of a sudden, you find yourself struggling with beliefs you once took for granted. Maybe you’ve experienced a major life event that has rattled your faith and left you wondering in its wake. 

 

Maybe it comes in passing thoughts or in questions that keep you up at night. Maybe you’ve reached a place where you feel trapped by this feeling, unsure of where to turn. 

 

What is this feeling I am describing? It’s the feeling of doubt. 

 

In our doubts, we can feel like “the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6). And while this can be overwhelming, it is nothing to be ashamed of. Why? Because we are not the first to wrestle with such doubts. In fact, Jesus’s own disciples—the men who spent three years walking and talking with Him face to face—experienced doubts of their own, and we can find great comfort in how He chose to respond to them.

 

How Jesus Responds to Doubt

 

In Luke 24:36–49, we are met with this scene: Jesus’s disciples are huddled in a room together, trying to make sense of everything that has just unfolded. Just a few days earlier, their beloved Rabbi had been crucified, and now He is dead and buried . . . or is He? 

 

They have heard reports of His resurrection, and as they discuss this together, I can imagine the questions likely filling their minds. Is this too good to be true? Could Jesus really be alive?

 

At this moment, the resurrected Jesus Himself appears in their midst. Scripture tells us His followers are “startled and terrified” (Luke 24:37)—something Jesus knows. In fact, He asks them directly, “Why are you troubled? . . . And why do doubts arise in your hearts?” (Luke 24:38). 

 

Jesus knows their hearts and acknowledges their doubt, but He doesn’t stop there. He chooses to respond—not by ignoring their doubt, getting angry because of it, or simply telling them to muster up more faith. Instead, He invites them to come close, to see His nail-scarred hands and His feet (Luke 24:39–40). And then, He opens their minds to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:44–48). 

 

We see Jesus respond to doubt in a similar way in Matthew 28:16–20, which records Jesus’s final words to His disciples in the Gospel of Matthew. As this scene opens, we see His disciples worshiping Him on a mountain. Yet Matthew 28:17 also includes an interesting detail: “but some doubted.” 

 

Again, Jesus is not blind to this. He knows all things, including His disciples’ hearts. So, in light of their doubts, how does He respond? The next verse tells us: “Jesus came near” (Matthew 28:18). With three simple words, we see the great love of Christ. Jesus doesn’t turn away in disappointment or disgust when His children struggle to understand; He comes near. He speaks to them. And the same is true for you. 

Jesus comes near when we struggle to understand | TDGC

Practical Tips for Dealing with Doubt

 

So, now that we know Jesus does not turn away from us in our doubts, how can we practically address this struggle? While everyone’s experience with doubt may differ, here are a few things that have helped me. 

1. Turn to God’s Word. 

Honestly, this may feel like the last thing you want to do when struggling with doubt. But if you are wrestling with questions about God, it makes sense to go straight to the source—to the one book that claims to be written by Him. Personally, when I have experienced moments of doubt, I have found God’s Word to be a lifeline. It is a place to which I can go with the full weight of my questions. It is a gift that will never return empty or come up short. It will always accomplish what God intended (Isaiah 55:11). 

2. Posture yourself in prayer. 

It is always a good idea to begin our time in God’s Word in prayer, asking Him for spiritual understanding and insight. But we can also pray for understanding as we go about our daily lives—as questions pop into our minds and doubts begin to fill our hearts. As we continually bring every anxiety we face to God, Christ Himself will guard our minds and fill our hearts with peace (Philippians 4:6–7). 

3. Look to Jesus. 

Scripture tells us that Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1:14) and the exact expression of God’s nature (Hebrews 1:3). So, when we have questions about who God is and what He is like, we can look to Jesus to find the answers we crave. 

 

We can also ultimately rest in His finished work on our behalf, remembering that no matter what we face, the truth of the gospel remains. Jesus walked this earth, taught His disciples, died on a cross for our sins, and resurrected from death to invite us into eternal life. When I’ve struggled with doubts, I’ve found it helpful to return to those core statements—the simple gospel—and ask myself, Do I believe these things to be true? 

 

By the grace of God, I am able to answer “yes”—and I have found that by simply reminding myself of the foundations of my faith, I can recenter my mind on what matters most. I’m able to shift my focus from my doubts, questions, and fears to the simple, beautiful truth that Christ made a way for my salvation. 

 

But even if you struggle to answer this question with a definitive “yes,” there is still hope. God Himself gives us the grace to believe, and we can ask Him to increase our faith (Mark 9:24), knowing that He draws near to those who draw near to Him (James 4:8) and promises that none of His children will be lost (John 6:37–39). 

 

Hope for Our Doubts 

 

Though we may continue to wrestle with doubts in this life, we can take comfort that we are never alone, even in our strongest moments of struggle. We have a God who goes before us and promises to use all things, even our doubts, for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). And one day, any doubts we experience now will be fully erased when we see Jesus face to face and dwell with Him forevermore (Revelation 22:4). 

One day our doubts will be fully erased when we see Jesus face to face | TDGC

Until then, may we rest our wandering hearts and minds in Jesus and return to His Word, again and again, knowing that He is forever faithful and true (Revelation 19:11). 

May we rest our hearts and minds in Jesus and continually return to His Word | TDGC)

Additional Resources:

Want help wrestling through specific doubts? The booklets in the “Faith Questions” series from The Daily Grace Co. are designed to help you address common areas of doubt with the truth of God’s Word. Current topics include sufferingtruth, purpose, and the Bible.

 

Note: If you’re struggling with doubt, it may also be helpful to start a conversation with a trusted pastor or church leader who can help you work through these feelings and point you to gospel truth. 

 

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