May 20, 2019 by JC Cast
Do not allow thoughts of doubt to steal your joy. Doubtful thoughts do not make you a weak or noncommitted Christian; it only shows that you’re human.
Throughout my four-plus decades as a Christian, I have experienced many times when doubt creeped into my thoughts during periods of complacency, or crashed to the forefront during traumatic situations.
Similarly, I do not know one Believer that has not experienced various degrees of doubt during their Christian walk. A fact which is equally confirmed in God’s Word.
Thomas, one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus, was both inquisitive and zealous. We see his zeal portrayed is John 11:16: “Thomas, nicknamed ‘The Twin,’ said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let’s go too—and die with him.’”
Unfortunately, that is a side of Thomas many people forget since he has been tagged as “Doubting Thomas” down through the centuries because he chose to disregard the initial reports of Jesus’ resurrection. Like all humans, Thomas was susceptible to doubt, and it arose at that particular time. Though, he wasn’t the only doubter in the Bible.
There are numerous examples of Believers showing their humanity in the form of doubt. Too many, in fact, to deal with in a blog post. However, I will touch on one more that I found surprising; yet, it truly shows that all humans can succumb to moments of doubt. That individual was John the Baptist.
Similar to the prophecies announcing a coming Messiah, there were prophecies of one that would come before the Messiah and proclaim his coming. Approximately eight-hundred years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah wrote the following in Isaiah 40:3: “Listen! I hear the voice of someone shouting, ‘Make a road for the Lord through the wilderness; make him a straight, smooth road through the desert.’”
The aforementioned prophecy, along with others pertaining to a “Crier of Good News,” were fulfilled with the arrival of John the Baptist.
In Luke 1:13 we see that the angel Gabriel told Zacharias that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would have a son, and they were to name him John.
Similarly, in Luke 1:30-31, Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear God’s son, and to name him Jesus. He also tells her that her aunt Elizabeth is equally pregnant. In other words, for those who may have forgotten, John the Baptist and Jesus are cousins.
In John 1:32-36, John the Baptist confirms, not once but twice, that Jesus is the chosen one that he’s been preparing the way for.
“I didn’t know he was the one,” John said again, “but at the time God sent me to baptize he told me, ‘When you see the Holy Spirit descending and resting upon someone—he is the one you are looking for. He is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ I saw it happen to this man, and I therefore testify that he is the Son of God.” — John 1:33-34.
The following day, Jesus walked by John the Baptist and two of his disciples, and John declared, “See! There is the Lamb of God!” — John 1:36.
All of his life John the Baptist knew he would eventually be used by God. And, from all accounts, he performed his ministry with a zeal rarely matched by others mentioned in the Bible. And yet, during his imprisonment by King Herod, this robust Believer showed he was still human. In Luke 7:18-19 we read the following: “The disciples of John the Baptist soon heard of all that Jesus was doing. When they told John about it, he sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask him, ‘Are you really the Messiah? Or shall we keep on looking for him?’”
Just consider that for a moment. The coming of John the Baptist, like the coming of the Messiah, had been prophesied. The angel Gabriel spoke to a parent of both John and Jesus (John and Jesus were cousins). And, to top it off, God had specifically given John the Baptist a sign to look for during his ministry that would confirm who the Messiah was—a sign John saw and publicly proclaimed after baptizing Jesus. Yet, he still succumbed to a moment of doubt during a time of trial.
If it can happen to John the Baptist it can happen to each of us. Just remember, such doubts do not make you a weak or noncommitted Believer. It’s merely a sign of your humanity. As long as you do not allow the doubts to override your Christian walk you will come out stronger after the experience or trial.
Personally speaking, the doubts could never overcome the truth I hold in my heart or the abundance of evidence I’ve found through many years of study.