WHEN A PASTOR HAS DOUBTS
Pastors are no different than anyone else. We face the same struggles and doubts, the same challenges and concerns. In fact, we often face more for we deal with evil and the results of sin every day. We are Satan’s main target, for if he can defeat a pastor, his whole family and church are negatively affected.
Sometimes even church leaders are tempted to wonder if God really cares, or if He exists at all. Is He really good and loving? Is He in control of the world and our lives or not? What makes these thoughts especially challenging for those in ministry is that we feel guilty and ashamed when our faith wavers. We don’t want anyone to know, so we don’t share our concerns with others. Don’t be surprised if you have times you wonder about these things. Abraham, David, Habakkuk, Jeremiah and even Paul had times of questions and uncertainty. I have had them myself, and you probably have as well.
The Christian life is one of faith. “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). God doesn’t provide supernatural, overwhelming proof that forces us to believe. There is enough proof to trust in Him, but also there is room for those who choose to disbelieve to do so. That’s what free will is all about. Working through doubts is a natural, normal part of spiritual growth.
When you struggle with your faith, don’t feel guilty, but be honest with God about it. He knows anyway. Your prayer should be, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9;24). Go to God with your questions. Share your struggle with mature, godly friends. You will probably find they have gone through some of the same struggles.
Look at the lives of those around you who have faithfully served God for years. They aren’t misled, deluded fools. They have faced life’s blackest moments and strongest challenges and have come through with their faith intact. You will find them to be intelligent, sincere, Bible-believing and God-trusting people whose faith you can anchor onto. If they believe, and their lives show the fruit of a life lived for God, then there must be some substance to their faith. When you can’t trust your own feelings, trust theirs and lean on their insight and understanding until your own gets strong again. Compare their lives with the lives of those who don’t believe and live in hopelessness and decide who you want to be like.
Perhaps you have worked through some of these waves of doubt that arise. Don’t hesitate to share your down times and what you have learned with others who may be struggling. You can become someone else’s’ anchor. Be alert to those struggling with doubts and share your experiences with them.
Remember, you don’t have to know all the answers about God or what He is going. It’s all right to not know and to admit it. Just because you don’t know the answers doesn’t mean there aren’t answers. Instead of turning from God at those times, turn to God seeking His peace. We might not always get answers, but we can have His grace so we can live with the unanswered concerns and continue to trust in Him. Our trust is based on what He has done in the past and what He promises to do in the present and future. It isn’t based on our understanding everything about Him or the way He works. It doesn’t mean we have all our answers. But it does mean there are answers and He is faithful, even if our questions aren’t answered.
Think of all the good in your life, the blessings and joys. If there were no God working in your life, what would you be like? What kind of a person would you be? Would there be peace and meaning? When I look at myself and my life, I know I wouldn’t be who I am just by my own efforts or some chance force in the universe. I know that Someone who cares for me and looks out for me must be working, even if I don’t understand all about Him or about circumstances I am in.
Don’t feel something is wrong with you if you struggle with doubts. Trust what God has already done in your life and in the lives of others. Search for answers. Ask God to make Himself real to you. Reach out for help. Email me and I’ll gladly talk with you.
To help with the most common doubts, I have an article that answers the questions “Does God exist,” “Is the Bible true?” and “Is Jesus really God?” I’ll gladly share them with you if you write and ask for a copy. Or you can find them at https://www.christiantrainingonline.org/our-ministries/india/articles/ I have also written a book, “Know Why You Believe,” at https://www.christiantrainingonline.org/our-ministries/india/books/ or by emailing me. It covers many areas of our faith where doubts and confusion arise. If you have any questions, I would be glad to answer them. Just write me at Jerry@Schmoyer.net.
2 Corinthians 5:7 “We walk by faith, not by sight.”
Not everyone struggles with questions and doubts. If you don’t, thank God for that and ask Him to put someone needing help in your path.
If you do struggle with doubts, what do you usually do to overcome them? What should you do next time they arise?
Are there doubts that are distracting and defeating you at the present time? What can you do to work through them?
INDIA UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST:
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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