My children and grandchildren never stop questioning my choices and direction. In fact, they go even further, they like to argue against them. It can get frustrating even annoying especially with young children who have to question your every command and wisdom. You have to explain why they have to brush their teeth, eat their vegetables and go to bed. Then as they get older it’s about why choosing the right friends’ matter, doing the hard work pays off, and why choosing the unpopular way is always going to be challenging but right. Often, we have to continually state truths over and over again as our nature is to try and compromise and see if they can just ‘sort of’ follow proven wisdom. Why can’t they just do what I tell them to do? Why do I have to walk away and watch them get hurt and suffer the consequences when they don’t believe me? And… the truly agonizing part is then having to bite my tongue with those judging words… “I told you so.”
Os Guinness in his book, Two Minds, says, “Doubt comes from a word meaning ‘two.’ To believe is to be ‘in one mind’ about accepting something as true; to disbelieve is to be ‘in one mind’ about rejecting it. To doubt is to waver between the two minds. When confronted with a truth we can believe and disbelieve all at the same time and so be ‘in two minds.” In other words, we are on ‘the fence post.”
Doubt is different from unbelief which is the willful rejection of authority. When we doubt it is about being indifferent, ambivalent or indecisive. We are not sinning when we doubt. In fact, doubt is actually healthy. God wants us to do our own thinking and pondering and choose for ourselves. He wants us to fully understand that it is our decision and that we are not robots blindly following His desires for us. It is why Christianity isn’t a cult. Paul tells us to “test” all things (I Thessalonians 5:21). Jesus asked questions so that we would think for ourselves. He brought clarity through the scriptures and through parables so that we could visualize outcomes. Doubting is a time of testing, but we do sin when we see a clear way but choose then to stay on the fence. It becomes willful defiance and God hates a double-minded person (Psalm 119:113).
We are currently contemplating lots of financial, social and political choices. It is also an era of media manipulation. Social media and the internet are full of information disguised by purveyors of wisdom on how to make the right choices and live our lives. When we ‘google’ a topic, robotic programs take us down rabbit trails of information that they know we want to read and not always what we should be reading. They are manipulating our eyes and the information we read. Our television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and podcasts of ‘news’ all have an underlying agenda as well. They want us to think and follow their truth so they conveniently hide or twist stories to misrepresent the information.
During these challenging and thoroughly disruptive times in our lives, doubting is a good thing because it forces us to be aware that we need to keep choosing God’s will – His ways, truths, and promises and not our own. It forces us to trust Him and be obedient to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit and not the information the world is spewing. If we’re smart, we’ll stick to the source of all wisdom, our Bibles and prayer. We’ll rely on those Biblical parables and stories and examples of what others have done before us. We have been given a record of similar times and challenges others have faced in history. If we are willing to take the time to read and research God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will direct our thoughts toward right thinking. We can listen to cultural thought, but ultimately God will bring us His direction and the assurance we need in times of doubt to make the right choices.
We need also to remind ourselves that the angel of darkness wants us to stay in the dark. To get stuck in doubt. But God wants us to be set free by seeing The Truth and the One who brings hope and always the way out even when we don’t immediately see it. He is our Truth, our Way and our Life (John 14:6). We can doubt but we don’t have to live a life imprisoned by it. I challenge you during times of doubting to immerse yourself in the book of Proverbs in the Bible. Read it slowly and ponder it. Read it in multiple translations and connect with Bible scholar commentaries as you read it.
My truth is for me and your truth is yours, but there are God’s truths that are proven. He’s given us over four thousand promises in the Bible and God never goes against His word. When we choose to live by them, even when the world grows darker, life changes for the better because we are not in this world forever. The world to come is the one we must choose to keep our focus on. Compromising God’s wisdom is never an option. Proverbs 25:26 (TPT) says, “When a lover of God gives in and compromises with wickedness, it can be compared to contaminating a stream with sewage or polluting a fountain.” In other words, compromise leads to sickness and disease and ultimately death.
Doubt, but don’t stay there. God is calling us to be more courageous than ever before. Choose Truth. Those words, “I told you so,” at the end of your life are words you don’t want to ever hear.