by Maria Royall, Resonate Pullman member
Doubt and I have a long history. I grew up in the church, and I was generally pleased with my life. But as I grew older, I learned how to doubt what I was taught. I loved to poke holes in what people taught me. But there comes a day when doubt wants to claim you as its own, and you have two choices- give in, or fight for your freedom. So when I was 19, God sent me to Haiti to confront the doubt I thought I loved.
A disastrous earthquake struck Haiti in 2010. My team was there to assist the YWAM base in Saint Marc, who had been aiding those affected for over a year at the time. One day, my team (and a few people from another church) went to pray with people who had been displaced in the earthquake, many of whom were injured. I watched those missionaries pray for healing, and tell person after person they would be healed. That familiar feeling crept in, and I couldn’t keep pretending I wasn’t bothered to my core. Who are you to promise these people they’ll be healed?
My mind was flooded with memories of people promising me healing that never came. At last, we met a woman whose back was so injured she could barely walk. I couldn’t hold my frustration anymore and I walked away to pray alone. Then I remembered the man in Mark 9 whose son needed to be healed by Jesus, and in a moment of transparency he cried out “I believe, help my unbelief!” I went back and placed my hand on the woman, prayed this man’s words, and the woman stood up tall. She was healed. She danced away, joyfully proclaiming what had just happened. And my heart took a step toward healing through that intense experience.
Until that moment, I had been suppressing my doubt and anger. It was my own personal problem, I thought I could live with it, and it was a little too complicated for me to know what I really believed. But denying how I felt was hindering my potential to heal and grow. Your emotions reveal the beliefs you hold most deeply. It’s important to listen to and acknowledge your feelings of doubt, while not allowing them to drive your decision making. Doubt is normal, and suppressing it harms the close relationship you’re meant to have with God. But it’s also indicative of lies you’re believing, and those lies are worth digging up.
For me, I didn’t believe God wanted to heal people. I doubted He was a God who would give people relief from their pain, and that made me bitter. Doubt is often easier to find in our hearts than a firm trust in God’s plans and promises. Rather than justifying our doubts as a shortcoming on God’s part or counting what we feel as more reliable than God’s word, we first need to recognize that our beliefs can be a product of our fallible surroundings and second, seek out the lies we’re believing and kill them.
So if you find yourself in a season of doubt, what should you do?
1. Speak up.
If you let doubt fester in your heart and never take the time to sort out what you really think and where it’s coming from, you may never recover. Journal, pray, tell a friend- just don’t keep it inside. Give your community the chance to listen for lies you’re believing so that they can speak truth, support you, and fight for you.
2. Memorize scripture.
The Holy Spirit corrected me in that moment through a verse I had put to memory. The word of God is powerful and full of truth. Keep it on your mind until God moves it to your heart.
3. Be willing to accept correction.
It can feel like a personal attack to hear someone tell you you’re wrong, but remember what’s at stake. The lies you believe want to destroy you. Don’t come to their defense.
God is gracious toward his children and aggressive toward the lies we believe. Draw near to Him and listen as he corrects the falsehoods that lead you to doubt Him.