I came face to face with uncertainty when my new acquaintance asked me a blunt question. My husband and I were at a birthday party for one of his work colleagues, and I was trying to meet some people in our new town.
“So what are you going to do?”
It was an honest question, but it hurt. This guy was already getting on my nerves, and after responding with feigned confidence, I made my exit as politely as possible and went looking for my husband.
Doubt can be such a lonely place.
I was seven months pregnant and my husband and I were living over two thousand miles from the town where I’d spent my entire life. We had no family nearby and friends were slow in coming.
So the question, “What are you going to do?” was real, but I hadn’t voiced it out loud. Whenever it darkened my thoughts I’d recite trite phrases like, “sink or swim,” but the cliché didn’t make me feel any better or make the uncertainty go away.
I knew nothing about babies and I trapped myself in a cell of my own making, afraid to voice to the thoughts that filled my head. I saw other moms who seemed to possess such unshakable confidence and wondered why I couldn’t grasp hold of any.
For months, I feared voicing my doubt. I thought speaking it out loud would give it life. As long as I kept it buried, never sharing it or voicing it, I believed it would simply go away. But the longer I kept it buried, the more it continued to grow.
What happens when we bring our doubts to God instead of trying to hide them?
If we look at scripture, we encounter many men and women of God who experienced doubt. But few of them move me and shake me more than Thomas, who is often dubbed “Doubting Thomas.”
Thomas didn’t hide his doubt. He spoke about it out loud and without hesitation. When the disciples told him they had seen the risen Lord, he declared he wouldn’t believe until felt the scars on his hands and placed his fingers into his side. (John 20:25)
Pretty bold in his uncertainty, wasn’t he? And do you know what happened when he uttered those words of disbelief?
Jesus appeared to him. Not as a passerby or by chance, but specifically for the purpose of helping Thomas believe.
John 20:27 NIV
When we voice our doubt, Jesus can expel it with his voice of truth.
Doubt, when wrestled through and given a name, can create greater faith.
Jesus didn’t appear to Thomas and rebuke him for doubting or punish him for saying something so outrageous. He gave him what his heart desired, followed by a straightforward command, “Believe.”
I spent my first year as a mom not believing. In myself, in God’s ability to use me, or anything else. I hid my uncertainty because I was ashamed.
Over time, God used some beautiful women in my life to show me it was okay to open up the vault and be real. And when I voiced my true feelings, my darkness was met with his Light.
Are you facing a wall of doubt today, but afraid to speak the words aloud? Can I encourage you? Speak. Come before the throne of grace and speak. He takes those thoughts of “not enough,” and “not worthy” and shows us He is able to provide more than we can ask, think or imagine.
And like Thomas, whose bold declaration of doubt brought a face to face encounter with Jesus, we can say nothing but, “My Lord and My God!”
Getting honest about our doubt can lead to bold declarations of faith.
If we want to see God in the midst of our struggles, we have to change the way we look for him. My book, Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God, is filled with practical tools and insights to help you do so.
Here’s what one reader said after reading it:
“One of the most comforting books I’ve read in a long time. Author Abby McDonald writes from a place of vulnerability and truth, and she clearly writes to serve her reader. A sweet book full of honesty and wisdom.” -Brenda
You can pick up a copy of Shift by clicking the image below.
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