Doubt can be a familiar feeling for many of us. Doubt seems to almost have become a constant companion to me. Thoughts such as “I can’t do this” and “why me?” bombard me. I look at the task before me and it seems daunting. On my own, I can’t do what is required. On my own, I don’t have the strength. On my own, I am filled with doubt. In my present circumstances, I am called to lead our church through a rocky transition and in many new ways a fresh start. This is a tall order. Doubt can be an easy feeling to fall into when faced with such a task.
Our society tells us to look within to alleviate the doubt. That we will find new encouragement and confidence by knowing who we are. Our culture says that we are up to the task and that by your power you can achieve. And that might work… for a time. We might just need a pep talk. And that might get us over the hurdle right in front of us. But it doesn’t last. In fact, when we go to ourselves for our confidence or encouragement we will end up finding more doubt. For when we look inside of ourselves we become very aware of our limitations.
So where do we go to alleviate our doubt? The first place should always be scripture and prayer. We should run to God with our doubts and gain encouragement from the truth of scripture. So we should pour out our doubts to God through prayer, vomiting up the worries and anxieties we have might have. We should take these doubts to God and leave them in His hands. And then we need to refill our minds and hearts with the truth of how God loves us and what God has called us to in scripture.
We should also run to God’s people in our doubt. The community of God should be a place where we can find encouragement and support. It should be a community that points back to the truth of God and helps us see the truth that God has laid out for us. For those of us who have doubts about the ministry we have been called to, the community is very important. It is the community of God that gives the outward call for your ministry, recognizing that you should be in that place of ministry. The church confirms the call to ministry and this reassures us and gives us confidence that we are to stay true to the ministry.
And in all of this, we need to know that it is not about us. We have doubts because we think it is all on us. We believe that it all rests on our shoulders. And if that is true we are right to doubt. But the truth is that in this life and in ministry, God uses mess-ups and failures. He uses the weak things of this world to show just how powerful he is. It is not about you. It is not about me. It is not about how strong you are. It is about us being faithful to what God has called us to do.
Corrie Ten Boom said it well, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.”