Are you facing a doubt storm? Here is how a doubt storm usually forms. A person starts out on the Christian journey delighted about being saved, going to heaven, and serving Jesus Christ. Then, someone or some event disappoints you. You become disillusioned, confused, followed by disappointment, a let-down, then discouragement sets in. Finally, raindrops of doubt start falling.
Henry Blackaby in his excellent study, “Experiencing God,” calls this a crisis of belief. If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you have experienced a crisis of belief, a doubt-storm. Being a Christian since the age of 16 and having been a pastor for over 40 years, I must confess that I too experience these powerful doubt-storms. I find that when I get my eyes on people instead of on Jesus Christ, I will often experience disappointment, distraction, and disillusionment.
Jeremiah, the great prophet, was a spiritual giant. God had turned away from Him, and sin was bringing His corrective judgment upon them. God’s prophet was mocked, ridiculed, and rejected. Yet, he continued to stand for God, and then it hit him with a vengeance, a doubt storm. He felt God had rejected him, and now he is disappointed with God, disillusioned with Him, and even doubting Him. Yes, even God’s choice servants face crises of belief. In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah shows us how to navigate through a storm of doubt.
Here are seven steps:
- Think Back
In Lamentations 3:19-21, Jeremiah uses a word three times and it gives him hope. It is the word “remember.” He looks back and how God had worked in his life in the past. It is easy to lose perspective and hope when you are in the midst of a doubt storm. Once he took a backward look, the storm began to calm. Think back at how God has come through for you in the past. Think about how He provided for you at just the right time, how He has answered prayer, or how He sent someone to encourage you. Has God ever not come through for you? He will not fail you now.
- Look Up
Jeremiah began to look above the storm and focused on God. Hope started to return as he looked up. Hope is the
confident expectation that with God, something better is coming in His time. He focused on three things: 1. God will never stop loving you (Lamentations 3:22). 2. God will never fail you (Lamentations 3:22-23). 3. God will never fail you (Lamentations 3:23). Whatever doubt storm you may be facing, right now, look up and know that the same God Who created the universe is available to you.
- Cry Out
In the midst of Jeremiah’s doubt storm, he cried out to God in two ways. First, he began praising God for Who He is (Lamentations 3:23). He said, “Great is the Lord’s faithfulness.” Second, he prayed. He claimed God’s promise recorded in Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Whatever you do, never stop talking to God. He is there and He cares for you.
- Hang On
God is not in a hurry. Trust His timing. Cling to His promises. In Lamentations 3:25 we are told to “wait on the Lord.” Waiting is the idea of submitting to the will of God. Make sure you are in God’s will. Waiting is expecting that God will work in your circumstances. Your doubt storm will not last forever. Wait for God to act, He will. Wait for His direction, it will come.
- Trust In
You can trust the Lord to always do what is good. You can trust that the Lord is at work even when He appears to be silent. You can believe that God will NEVER do anything to hurt you. “For He does not afflict willingly, Or grieve the sons of men” (Lamentations 3:33). People will disappoint you, they will let you down. Don’t put your trust in people, trust in Him. Open God’s Word and trust that God meant every word He spoke. Trust Him.
- Come Back
The people of God had sinned miserably. They had stepped out of God’s will and were out from under the umbrella of His protection. Jeremiah said, “Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the Lord” (Lamentations 3:33). Are you in the center of God’s will? If not, come back, confess your sin, ask for His forgiveness, get back in God’s favor.
- See Beyond
Remember, no storm lasts forever (Lamentations 3:31). Beyond the storm of doubt and despair, could be a new assignment for God, a new season of God’s blessing. God had told Jeremiah, “For I know the plans that I have for you’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). God never wastes your pain. As God works in your life you will be stronger, you will have greater compassion for people, and you will have a greater faith as you cooperate with Him.
In your doubt storm think back, look up, cry out, hang on, trust in, come back, and see beyond.