While doubt is something that many of us go through from time to time. It can be in a time of spiritual dryness, it can come in the midst of trying circumstances. It can seem overwhelming, sometimes the only prayer we can mutter at those times is, “help me overcome my unbelief,” (Mark 9:24). Jesus didn’t condemn Thomas when he doubted, but even though he gave Thomas the proof he was looking for he said to him, “Do not disbelieve, but believe,” (John 20:27) and then after Thomas believed said about future believers, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed,” (John 20:29).
The point is that we are never meant to stay there.
Unfortunately, doubt is often treated as a type of virtue within our culture and even from those on the religious left, or rather it is framed as a type of humility or modesty such as “who are we to know for certain.” It is often directed at those who make absolute truth claims regarding Christian orthodoxy.
G.K. Chesterton in 1959 work Orthodoxy said what we suffer from “is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition… (and) settled upon the organ of conviction, where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.”
What Chesterton describes is the exact opposite of what we typically see. Culture preaches self-confidence and self-esteem but balks at certainty when it comes to truth claims, in particular, biblical truth claims.
J.P. Moreland warned in his work, Kingdom Triangle, that with this trajectory Christians experience “all the attendant land mines and booby traps that undermine the possibility of a powerful, confident, knowledgeable, vibrant Christian community.”
Perhaps they need to take the blunt advice of the late British pastor, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who said in Spiritual Depression, “Come to the Word of God. Stop asking questions. Start with the promises in their right order. Say: ‘I want the truth whatever it costs me.’ Bind yourself to it, submit yourself to it, come in utter submission as a little child and plead with Him to give you a clear sign, perfect vision, and to make you whole… We are not meant to be left in a state of doubt and misgiving, of uncertainty and unhappiness.”