God is always with us– when we pray, sing hymns, read His Word, take a walk through nature, watch TV, using our phone, at home, at work, when we’re alone, or with others. He is with us during what we perceive to be the good times and what we perceive to be the bad times. God is even with us–even with YOU– if you struggle with doubt.
Have you ever wondered if God is surprised by or even disappointed in you when you have times of doubting Him and His Word? While it’s important to always place our trust in God, there are several examples of doubt in the Bible with individuals known for their great faith who experienced moments of doubt.
Those stories are reminders from God that He knows our nature. He’s well aware of our tendency to question His love and His faithfulness–especially during tough times when the circumstances we face seem overwhelming.
Biblical Individuals Who Doubted in the Bible
Below are three instances of individuals who doubted in the Bible according to God. As you read their stories, pay special attention to God’s response to each person.
Gideon and the Fleece
Gideon had been questioning where God was because His chosen people, the Israelites, were being oppressed by the Midianites. In response, through an angel, God called Gideon to deliver the people of Israel from the hand of the Midianites, a formidable foe. Gideon wanted to make sure it was truly God’s Word to him, so he asked for a sign, which God gave to him. Then when the Midianites gathered together with the Amalekites and other enemies of Israel so that the number in their armies seemed overwhelming, Gideon asked for another sign.
“Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water.
Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.”
And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.” Judges 6:36-40 ESV
God’s Reminder to Us
This is our reminder that God will honor our request to ‘layout a fleece’ in some situations. To assure us that it is Him leading us to take a specific action when we feel doubtful about a decision we need to make in our lives.
Messengers from John the Baptist
Even John the Baptist, who had baptized Jesus and about whom Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11 ESV), had doubts while imprisoned by Herod about whether Jesus truly was the long-awaited Messiah.
“When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” Matthew 11:1-6 ESV
God’s Reminder to Us
This is a reminder that Jesus wants us to know and be assured of the truth that He is God. As Jesus gave evidence to John’s disciples that proved He was indeed the Messiah, He wants us to examine the evidence of His claims that are found in the Bible so we can be assured that He is the One true God.
He may send people into our lives who will give us renewed clarity and encouragement and reaffirm our faith when we are besieged by doubts, as he did with John the Baptist.
Jesus and Thomas
Thomas, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, was so devoted to Jesus that at one point, he stated he was ready to die with Him (John 11:16). Yet, even though all of the other disciples said they had seen Jesus following His resurrection, Thomas wasn’t there, so when Jesus appeared, so he didn’t see Jesus himself; he doubted that it truly was Him.
“Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them.
Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:24–29 ESV
God’s Reminder to Us
Sometimes God will give us the clear, physical proof in response to our doubts, as he did with Thomas. However, the greater blessing is given to those who believe in His Word, even without physical proof to back up His Word. That is why it is so important that we study His Word, commune with Him in prayer, and gather with fellow believers to encourage one another to believe in the Truth of Who He is.
Have You Been Tempted to Shrink Back from Your Faith?
A year ago this month, I experienced a crisis of faith. My 93-year-old mother, who had been faithful to the Lord throughout her life, was dying. It was grueling to watch her suffer and waste away as she quit eating and drinking and became listless and totally uncommunicative. It helped to have my adult daughter by my side during this challenging time; we spent our days and nights reading some of her favorite scriptures to her, praying for and over her, and playing and singing several of her most beloved hymns.
There came to a point during her great physical suffering that I wondered, “How can I be sure that Heaven is real? How do I really know that everything I’ve been taught and led to believe about God and the promise of eternity is true?” I was in anguish and troubled in my spirit as I had never been before as I watched her languish, and then I felt the Lord drop into my spirit these Words of His:
“I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 ESV)
Did I immediately embrace that truth? Regrettably, no, I didn’t. I knew those words very well because I’ve read the Bible multiple times…but a cry arose in my heart to God, “How can I be certain those words are true?” Then the Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit again:
“As grueling as your Mom’s death is, the people who testified to Jesus saying those very words suffered far worse deaths than your Mom because they believed those words. They were unwilling to deny the truth of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, even though it meant enduring a horrific death, much worse than what your Mom is going through. If they didn’t believe those words to be true, they could never have endured such deaths. So you can be assured that those words are true.”
Filled with Peace & Joy
In place of my doubt, I was flooded with peace and joy as I looked at my Mom lying on her deathbed! I knew that even though I didn’t understand why God had allowed her to go through such suffering, I could fully trust her life–and her death– to Him. To Him Who created her, Who loved her more than I loved her, and Who had promised that she would be resurrected because of His life in her because she had put her trust in His atoning work on the cross on her behalf. I was assured she would be in Heaven, and I would be reunited with her there because of my faith in Him too!
NOTHING—not even death—can separate us from the love God has for us! (Romans 8:38-39)
I am comforted by the sure knowledge that I will be reunited with my parents in a place beyond what I could hope or imagine. All of us who believe in Him will have our lowly bodies transformed to be like Jesus’ glorious one! If you doubt where you will spend eternity, please contact us as we would love to share with you how you can know for sure that you will be in Heaven.
Remember, God doesn’t think less of you or love you less when you doubt Him or His Word! His love for you is unconditional, and He isn’t surprised by or unable to handle your doubts. He longs for you to look to Him during those times, to cast your cares upon Him, to draw near to Him, and to trust Him and His life-giving Word, which can comfort you and strengthen your faith so you can live victoriously!
Overcoming Fear, Worry, or Anxiety Workshops
True View Ministries’ Julie Van Gorp and Jamie Shaver are trustworthy, conservative women who speak from God’s Word and love sharing His Word with others. Julie and Jamie offer workshops and seminars that focus on equipping attendees to live authentic Christian lives that bring glory to God. Learn more about scheduling Julie or Jamie for your next event.