Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Perplexed But Not Doubting

The Bible uses the word "doubt" in a more negative sense than we often do. In the Bible, to doubt God is to:

  • Have a deficient faith (that's what "little" faith means in the Greek): "Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'" (Matthew 14:31).

  • Be double-minded and unstable in all one's ways: "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" (James 1:6-8).

We should probably stay far away from any kind of doubting of God. I know a better word to use: perplexity. It's the word Paul used in 2 Corinthians 4:8: "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies" (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).

There's just no good kind of doubting of God in the Bible, but to be perplexed is o.k. for his creatures. After all, he is God, and we're not. He has a plan but we're not privy to all the details, and it often seems difficult to us. God is patient with that. "For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14). To doubt him is to not even know him, it seems. But to be perplexed at times in this life is simply to be finite and human.

In times of perplexity, don't doubt his goodness and ability to keep. And (I remind myself) don't forget to take all your troubles to Jesus. "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us" (Psalm 62:8).


1 comment:

jan spooner said...

Amen, little sister!