Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dealing With Doubt

Hey Friend,
As I have mentioned in other posts, I have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).  OCD, one of the anxiety spectrum disorders, is nicknamed "the doubters disease".  What the ordinary person is able to dismiss as irrational, throws the person with OCD into a vortex of doubt and anxiety.  It really is an insidious illness.  I guess that's why I get a little touchy when people casually throw the term OCD around.  Living it can be pure hell at times.
I guess it would come as no surprise, that when asked which disciple I can most relate to, I would have to say Thomas (nicknamed the doubter).  When confronted with Jesus, recently risen from the dead, Thomas wants so desperately to believe it truly is Christ.  His doubts, however, get in the way and he needs just a little more proof and reassurance. 
I love what Jesus does here...He doesn't chide or rebuke Thomas.  Far from it.  Jesus lovingly says to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see my hands; and reach out your hand and put it into my side."  (John 20:27)
Jesus knows full well that we are programmed for doubt.
Yet, He responds to our doubt with a loving offering of proof.  We may not be able to actually put our finger in Jesus' wounds, but we are given His word - His proof of promises that we can depend on.
You may not have OCD, but you do have the enemy to deal with.  Even though the enemy is not omniscient, he knows our weak places...our Achilles heel and he goes after it with a vengeance.  He whispers words of doubt:
*  Are you really saved? 
*  Does God really, truly love you?
*  Is God really good?
*  Are you sure you can trust God?
*  God doesn't care about little you...
*  Are you sure you are sealed with the Holy Spirit?
*  Are you certain you're going to Heaven?
*  You're not worthy...and on and on it goes.
The enemy is the accuser of the brethren.  Have you ever had thoughts that go something like this:
You are NOT a good (Fill in the blank)...person, believer, spouse, parent, friend, etc.
Lean in and hear this...It is ALL LIES!!  Like Thomas touching Jesus' wounds, we can trace our finger over Romans 8:1: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
"The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by one who knows what you can be and fears it."  (John Eldredge, "Waking the Dead".
Doubt will always be an integral part of our lives.  Why?  Because the enemy hates us and wants us to doubt all the good gifts we've been given in Christ such as :  grace, forgiveness, mercy, acceptance, strength, wisdom, redemption, an inheritance, a new heart...
In the book of Mark, chapter 9, a man begs Jesus to heal his mute and seizure ridden son.
Verse 23:  Jesus tells the father, "All things are possible for him who believes."
Verse 24:  The father cries out, "I do believe; help my unbelief."
Doubting, actually, is not all bad.  Doubting drives me to seek answers. When regular doubt crops up and even when the awful OCD doubt flares, it sends me running into the arms of my Heavenly Father.  He does not chide or rebuke me but instead, lovingly reminds me that I am His.
God can take what Satan hands me and uses it to draw me closer to Himself.
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..."  (Hebrews 12: 1b-2)
Jesus is the author and perfecter of my faith (not me).  He can even use my doubts to grow me in my faith. 
Do you have doubts?  Do you ever cry out, "I do believe; help my unbelief."?
Know you are not alone.  We all doubt.  Just like Jesus lovingly reassured Thomas, He reassures us.  You are His child.  He will not chide or rebuke you.  He applauds each step forward you take in your faith.  And, when you fall (which you will), He picks you back up again and urges you onward. 
Offer your doubts up to the Lord and see what He can do with them.  As always, I would love to hear from you and am always willing to pray for you.  If you are reading this...know you are being lifted up as you read.
From one doubter to another...
In His love,
ps.  Next week I will be going "off the grid" to enjoy a little time with my family.  I hope you'll use this time to enjoy your family or perhaps check out the archives.  Be blessed!