Maybe you are having doubts about God’s willingness to bless you with something good, like a spouse, a new job, or better health. Or maybe you are even struggling with doubting God’s existence all together.
Why would God allow you to have doubts? Here are 4 possible explanations.
1. God May Allow You to Have Doubts So You Will Ask for Faith and Know that Faith Is a Gift from Him
God will never make you doubt him. However, according to Scripture, faith is a gift from God. So in that sense, God “allows” us to doubt him because he doesn’t stop our doubt all the time and he could bless us with faith when he wants. So why doesn’t God just bless us with faith whenever we are doubting?
In Scripture, one answer to questions like these is that God waits for us to ask him for what we need so we then know he is the one who has blessed us with this gift. We are prone to boast (Ephesians 2:8-9), so when we have a need that God only supplies once we ask, this protects us from pride. As Romans 12:3 explains:
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
2. God May Allow You to Have Doubt as a Way of Increasing Your Faith
Not only does faith come from God, but it is also something we are to work to receive from God’s gracious hand. We are not earning our faith or creating our faith, but God puts us through difficult journeys that he uses to produce more faith in us. As Philippians 2:12-13 explains:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
The truth that God works in us, giving us the desire and power to do what pleases him, can be used as an excuse when we are thinking unbiblically, “If I fail, it’s because God didn’t work in me good enough.” But notice the “for” in Philippians 2:12-13. We are to work hard ourselves “because” (i.e. “for”) God is working in us.
The fact that God has placed faith in you is not a reason to not work to strengthen that faith. Rather, because God has put real faith in you, this is the reason you are to work hard to find answers your questions, to work towards those blessings you desire, and to remain faithful even when you don’t get what you want from God.
Doubt is like the shovel God wants us to use to deepen our faith. You won’t dig for the treasured answers if you don’t first have troubling questions. Doubt is meant to be used as motivation to increase your faith. Don’t waste your doubts.
3. God Will Allow You to Have Doubts as a Way of Reshaping and Maturing the Expression of Your Faith
It’s good to have faith when you ask for a very specific blessing like, “Lord, please grant me a spouse,” or “Father, please give me a raise at work,” or “Dear God, please allow my unsaved friend to become a Christian.”
Throughout Scripture we are told that a lack of faith decreases the power of our prayers (Matthew 13:58, James 1:6, Mark 9:23). However, as our faith matures, sometimes this results in a reshaping of our prayers, desires, and expectations.
It’s actually a less mature expression of true faith in God when you need him to do exactly what you want in order for you to keep believing in him. What if he doesn’t give you that person as a spouse? What if you don’t get that raise? And what if that person doesn’t become a Christian? How will you respond?
God often puts us through trying times as a way of maturing the expression of our faith and reshaping our desires. Perhaps God gives you someone else as a spouse that will be much happier with. Perhaps you don’t get a raise at your current employer but this causes you to look for a new job and then you are even happier somewhere else and making more money. Perhaps that friend doesn’t become a Christian, but through your efforts God develops your evangelistic abilities and then he uses you to lead many other people to Christ in the future.
The point is, we don’t always know why God gives us desires. Sometimes these come to fruition and sometimes God uses these to develop and mature us. As Hebrews 5:7-8 states:
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.”
4. God Allows Doubts to Draw Us Closer Into His Presence
In Mark 9 there was a desperate father who had a demon possessed son. All he wanted was for his son to be delivered. He said to Jesus, “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (Mark 9:22). To this Jesus said, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23).
The father instantly knew his mistake. He had faith, which is why he came to Jesus; but in love, Jesus was pointing out the doubt that was still present. And so, wisely, Mark 9:24 tells us what the father did next, “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
You have faith, which is why you are coming to Jesus. But there is doubt too. God wants you to get rid of all doubt. Come to him. He wants your doubt to bring you closer to Jesus, not further away.
Relates Article: 5 Ways to Deal with Your Doubts About God
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