I'd like to talk today about something that's been weighing heavily on my mind lately. Perhaps it's because I have children, perhaps it's because of the current political climate, or perhaps God is trying to lead me to doing something great--in any regard, the topic of discussion today is 'doubt.'
When you've made up your mind that 'God' is the one true answer to just about every tough moral question you ask yourself, it's rare that you will doubt your own beliefs. Let me make that clearer for you: it's rare that you will doubt your own beliefs. When God becomes your answer and your source of comfort, you will not doubt yourself, but others will cause you to doubt your beliefs.
I like examples...let's create one. This should hit home for most of us. I am using this example because it is currently a very hot-button issue in our country. I would like to lay the disclaimer that I am not going to suggest that people should go completely without these things. The entities in the scenario I am going to create are not "evil"...they are people and businesses and they are allowed to do their jobs and make money, just like you and me. Use this scenario as an analogy for just about anything in your life. So here goes...
You go to the doctor for a routine check-up. You have insurance that will cover anything. You are in great health and you are feeling great. You believe that you are healthy. This is just routine. Well, you go in for this check-up and your doctor finds a small lump somewhere, anywhere. He'll ask you questions about it and suddenly you find yourself thinking, "Gee, I guess I have been feeling a little strange lately...just the other day I noticed fill-in-the-symptom." So you mention it to your doc who reassures you that it's probably nothing--but he'd like to run some tests anyway since you have insurance. A couple of days later the phone rings (and you've been worrying all the while) and it's your doctor with a little news for you. They found something in your tests. These things usually turn out fine, but here's a list of the possible outcomes. He'd like you to meet with two other doctors and see him again, too. This all takes place over the next two months! So for two more months you have lots of time to think about all of these things that could possibly be plaguing you. Plenty of time to go on the internet and look up everything there is to know about these conditions (most of it negative). Two whole months worrying and supplying your body with plenty of stress hormones that will only aggravate these conditions and whatever else could be hiding in your body. In this situation, the outcome for us is often fine, but if you (like me!) have been in this or a similar situation before, you know what a terrifying experience this can be. By the way, this all happened because of one little thing...doubt!
I am not trying to suggest that we shouldn't go to the doctor or that we shouldn't have insurance or that we shouldn't have tests run when there does seem to be something to be concerned about. What I would like to suggest however is that we take a deep breath when some sort of "news" blind-sides us. We should ask for a little time to think about what path we'd like to take. We should ask questions and communicate with our doctors and other faith-shakers. We should always have a support system. We should pray. Most of us would find that our own internal answer to these scary questions in life is that we believe that we are fine or that we will be okay. It's the doctors, the media, the insurance companies, the internet, and sadly, sometimes the family and friends that surround us that cause us to doubt.
I grew up in a household with parents who, in my mind, had unshakable faith. They went through some pretty tough times, but having God and having each other ALWAYS got them to the end. They wanted their kids to have a certain quality of life that involved morals, not money. God, not people. In spite of this, however, I still found (and find) it hard to have complete faith at times. Sadly, even when we try to be the best example we can possibly be for our kids and for others, we still end up getting overshadowed by the rest of society following whatever the current trend is. The trends often make us feel safe or knowledgeable or like we're part of something that matters. For instance, good health insurance=good health care=good health, right? I mean, if you go online and search "going without insurance," articles that say things like, "So You Don't Have Insurance...Now What?" will pop up rather than articles reading, "Choosing to Live Without Insurance is a Viable Option." Wait a minute...then why are there so many unhealthy people who have insurance and so many very healthy people who don't have it? Because of doubt (or faith). When you have this false sense of security, in this case 'insurance,' you end up doubting your own ability to take care of yourself. Suddenly it becomes more convenient to pop into the doctor for some pills than to assess your overall well-being on a daily basis. It becomes more socially acceptable to have an ailment than to admit that you've been struggling with some underlying emotional and spiritual issues. This doubt that most of society possesses allows us to place the blame on others. We've let ourselves become convinced that this 'insurance' is there to give us peace of mind in case of an emergency, but how many people really use it that way? Remember when cell phones used to be around "just in case of an emergency?" We've arrived at a point where people no longer know how to survive without these things or so many of the other luxuries we've been given in this world. We've created our own peace of mind.
It occurred to me the other day that because of the extreme amount of doubt that our culture has created for us--with an abundance of solutions to our problems, of course--we have become a culture that has learned to survive without God!!! Every story in the bible is about people who have absolutely horrible things happen to them; slavery, floods, plagues, being nailed to a cross, you name it! And in each of these stories, there are people who doubt. Some of these doubtful people turn to God. Others choose to ignore His power. In every story, those who had complete faith and who didn't let their doubt overcome them even when times got tough were rewarded by God's protection. Maybe it didn't come until after they died (Jesus, anyone?), but they always met with God in the end.
I am at times deeply saddened to live in a place where doubt is the basis of our existence. We doubt that we can get by without insurance, we doubt that we can get a good job without college, we doubt that we will survive a car accident without a phone, we doubt that we can live without most of our modern conveniences, and all because we are fed doubt by nearly everyone around us. We have become so uncomfortable with the concept that death is a part of life that we just can't seem to survive without all of this "betterment"...but wouldn't life (short as it may be) be a lot more enjoyable without all of these things? When Mike and our oldest son and I first moved back to the area, we were having a really hard time figuring out how to manage our finances with the type of pay he was receiving. We doubted that we were going to get by without having to take more or different work. We didn't think we'd make it without health insurance, without a cell phone, without two cars, all because we had come to rely on this feeling of doubt. We had other people, family and friends even, who promoted this sense of doubt. But we prayed a lot and then we sat down, figured out what needed to be taken care of, cut out the things that we didn't need and we made it through. Four years later, we've cut out even more than we possibly thought we could--not because we had to, but because we didn't want our doubts to thrive--and we have two more kids and are doing financially fine. And we could probably still cut out more! Does that mean things will never get tough again? I doubt it ;) But at least we'll know to do what's right and we'll have God by our side.
Pray to God that you learn to have complete faith. Pray that your doubts be overcome. I pray that some of you may read this and decide to stand up with me and my family and say "I believe!" Because we believe that God is ALWAYS on your side...no doubt.