What to do when you doubt God

On the road of faith, we all encounter “Thomas times”—bumps full of doubt. Some of us jump right over them, while others may stumble, falling into a pit of confusion. And the result … we become a Doubting Thomas.

I’ve been Thomas and I bet you have too, or you know someone who is right now.

There is no shame if you struggle with doubt. God invites your questions and wants to turn your confusion into clarity just like He did for Thomas.

Imagine what it was like for Thomas when Jesus, His Master and Friend, was crucified? The shock, the sorrow—but maybe he wasn’t simply a doubter; maybe he was a seeker … an honest seeker?

On Friday, Thomas’s hopes were crucified on the cross along with Jesus.

Good Friday? It didn’t feel so good to Thomas. Do you know how he felt? You lose something precious to you—a dream, a relationship, your health, your sense of purpose or security. Your hopes are shattered, and life suddenly isn’t what you expected. On Saturday, Thomas was stunned, shocked, and grief-stricken—Jesus had died. We all have Thomas times of hopelessness, doubt, and confusion.

It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. Perhaps you know how he felt because you find yourself in the aftershock of disappointment or tragedy.

You are stuck in a hard place and overwhelmed by sadness and confusion. What you hoped for didn’t happen, or what you prayed would not happen did. You aren’t sure what to do, but you know for certain that your life will never be the same. On Sunday, Thomas heard from his friends that Jesus was alive.

Alive? He rose from the dead? Shouldn’t Thomas have an exclamation point at the end of that sentence, instead of a question mark? This meant hope is alive! But what should have filled him with hope instead left him feeling uncertain and unhappy. What was wrong with him? Only the beautiful words of Jesus can bring the peace we long for when our hearts are broken.

Maybe you see yourself in this part of Thomas’s story. Your friends have a happiness you don’t. You envy their hopes and the way their lives look so peaceful compared to yours.

It seems so easy for some people to trust God, but for you, it’s hard. You seek the security and hope they have, yet you can’t shake your doubts or settle the grinding confusion in your heart.

In his despair and disillusionment, Thomas could have turned his back on everything. But he stayed connected with his friends and showed up for supper with the disciples a week later. If you are an honest seeker like Thomas, my book God Is Just Not Fair offers my honest, raw thoughts on what to do when you doubt God. Learn more about it here.

Jesus appeared among his followers. He entered through a locked door and greeted them with the words, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:26). Then Jesus held out his scarred hands, opened his outer garment, and said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27). Only the beautiful words of Jesus can bring the peace we long for when our hearts are broken.

In awe, Thomas drops to his knees and exclaims, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). When you’re in a season of doubt, reach out to Jesus and watch Him reveal who He is.

Jesus knew Thomas had questions and doubts. Jesus didn’t scold Thomas or shame him. He simply offered Thomas a chance to seek Him and then see him as the risen Christ in a very personal way—he let Thomas feel his scars.

We all have “Thomas” times of hopelessness, doubt, and confusion. Just like Jesus offered grace to Thomas, He offers grace to you too.

If you are a “doubting Thomas” or you know someone who is, I think some renaming is in order. I think the name should be “honest Thomas.” To admit you struggle or doubt—we all may struggle or doubt—from time to time is just being honest.

Jesus revealed himself to Thomas, even though Thomas was doubtful. And that’s what Jesus does for all of us in our “Thomas Times”—he reveals who He is. Your life can be full of hope because Jesus’ tomb is empty!

If you’re in a season of doubt, reach out to Jesus.

“You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13 NASB).

This Easter, I pray God shows you that your life can be full of hope because Jesus’ tomb is empty. Praise the Lord!

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