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10/16/15

DOUBTING IS A SIGN OF DISBELIEF

     Let's face it, most, if not all of us, have struggled through this one.  "If I REALLY believed...if I REALLY had faith, I wouldn't ever wrestle with doubts".  DOUBTS are for the uncommitted.  DOUBTS are for the unconvinced.  DOUBTS are for the...well...unbelievers.  Because DOUBT is the opposite of FAITH.  It's the opposite of true BELIEF.  DOUBT and FAITH are like oil and water...they just don't mix.  
     
OK, let's consult the authorities on this subject.  Let's go straight to the Bible.  What does it say about FAITH and DOUBT?  The best source in all of scriptures has to be Hebrews 11.  It starts off like this...

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.  By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.  By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.  By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going."

     God begins by telling us that faith is a confidence in what we hope for.  It's a calm assurance in what we do not see.  In other words, faith can't be proven in a laboratory.  It doesn't necessarily come with proof.  We live in a world that says, "Show me proof and I'll believe". Yet, to that same world, God says, "Believe, and I'll show you proof".  In other words, based on what you cannot prove, take your questions and your misgivings and even your doubts, and believe...doubts and all...and then, and only then, I'll show you proof.
     
The world says, "Proof comes first, then belief". But, God challenges conventional wisdom and says, "Belief comes first, then I'll show you proof".  Faith is always rewarded, because it's always so hard to arrive at without our seeing it first.
    
 God's Word even gives us very practical, human examples.  "By faith Abel", "By faith Enoch", "By faith Enoch"...they all believed first, then were rewarded for their faith.  But, look at those next two examples.  "By faith Noah"...by faith Noah did what?  He built a giant boat where there was no body of water and where it had never, ever rained, simply because God told him to.  For 100 years Noah built the ark.  Do you think Noah had doubts over the course of those 100 years?  He was faithful, but he was also human.  
     
What about Abraham?  He left his home for a place to be named later.  When asked, "where are we going?",  all Abraham could answer was, "I have no idea".  He was promised a child that seemingly never came, and when he did come, he was told to kill him.  Doubts?  That's a recipe for doubts if there ever was one.  
     
Example after example after example pepper the Bible of men and women who were full of doubts and rewarded by God because of their faith.
    
 Here's what we have to get right once and for all: FAITH IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF DOUBTS, BUT THE WILLINGNESS TO MOVE FORWARD IN SPITE OF THEM.
   
  In fact, it could be said this way, DOUBTS are necessary for FAITH to even exist.  DOUBTS make FAITH possible.  DOUBTS are the substance from which FAITH is given birth.
     
DOUBTING is a sign of humanity.  FAITH is a sign we have chosen to believe GOD rather than the DOUBTS.