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The bible is full of people who expressed their doubts to God. People questioned God’s motives, his timing, his ultimate plan, even his knowledge of their life circumstances and his power to deliver. Most of these doubts arose from faith that had not been tested and refined. When people in the bible called out to God with their questions or doubts, God responded by revealing his will and/or acting in their behalf. As a result, their faith grew stronger and their doubts began to fade. The same is true for us. When we stumble through life in our own strength, according to our own will, we encounter little of the God who loves us, has a marvellous plan for our lives and who protects and keeps us in his will. However, when we surrender our lives completely to God, we are helpless to navigate through life unless God leads and guides, defends and protects, prepares the way and empowers us to proceed. It is only natural when our lives are in God’s hands that we will question God’s plan for us and doubt that God has our best interests at heart, because our human understanding is so limited. The Psalmists often question God and doubt his motives. They often resolve these doubts by remembering the character of God and recalling his faithfulness in the past. Here are a few examples. Psalm 10:1 – Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? In verse 14 he resolves the doubt “But, you God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand.” In verse 16 the Psalmist further confirms “The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations will perish from his land.” Psalm 42:9 – “I say to God my rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” He resolves his doubt by positive self-talk. In verse 11 the Psalmist says “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my saviour and my God.” Probably the strongest complaint recorded in scripture is in the book of Habakkuk. In Habakkuk 1:1-4 we read his complaint. “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore, the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.” God doesn’t rebuke Habakkuk. He tells him what he is going to do about the situation in verse 5 and following. “Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. Habakkuk complains again in Habakkuk 1:12 to 2:1. The Lord answers him in Habakkuk 2:2-20 with a prophesy about God’s coming judgement in the future against all wickedness. In my view, there is one doubt that God finds offensive, it is when we pray. The apostle James warns us in James 1:6-8 “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” Why is this offensive to God? Because our doubt makes a mockery of God. Here are some examples of our doubts: 1) God doesn’t hear my prayers, he must be sleeping, 2) God has more important things on his mind, 3) God doesn’t know what I’m going through, 4) God doesn’t have my best interests at heart, 5) God won’t come to my rescue, he just expects me to suffer through it. When we pray God expects us to be frank and tell him what we need, then to faithfully wait for him to reveal his good, pleasing and perfect will for our lives. When we have questions and doubts, God will reveal his will. This is demonstrated many times in scripture. Once we understand God’s will, we are able to pray with faith.
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