Christians don’t always like to admit they have doubts, but every one of us has had doubts at some point. The question isn’t really whether or not we doubt, but what we do about those doubts.
As I was reading the Great Commission, God taught me things about doubting and showed me three steps to deal with my own doubts.
Here’s the passage:
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
– Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV)
Two things stood out from this passage (besides the popular Commission in verses 18-20): multiple disciples doubted, what they did anyway, and how Jesus responded.
Thomas Wasn’t the Only Doubter
Jesus’ eleven disciples (Judas had killed himself) went to where Jesus told them, but it says that “some doubted.” That’s more than one, and could be more than half. Regardless, of the eleven, more than one had doubts.
We often look at Thomas as the lone doubter, but we know that Peter and John also doubted. After they were told Jesus had arisen, they didn’t initially believe it and had to see it for themselves (Luke 24:11-12; John 20:3-8).
In this passage, Matthew indicates that, despite spending time with Jesus after his resurrection, some of the eleven had doubts. Despite their doubts, though, they didn’t stop following Jesus.
Despite their Doubts, they Still Followed Jesus
Even though they had some uncertainties and questions, all eleven went to where Jesus told them. Although they had doubts, all still worshiped Jesus.
In short, they continued to follow and seek Jesus despite their feelings and skepticisms.
They didn’t quit on Jesus. They didn’t leave the flock. They didn’t give up on God. Rather, they followed their savior, obeyed him, worshiped him, and continued to seek guidance and answers.
How did Jesus respond?
Jesus Gave Them All a Task even though some Doubted
Jesus knew that some doubted. Nevertheless, he told all of them to go make disciples, to evangelize, and to spread the gospel to the world. He didn’t condemn, criticize, or dismiss any of them. Rather, he commissioned them for a high calling: serving the Creator of everything.
Sadly, sometimes Christians will directly or indirectly look down on others who express doubts. It’s seen as less than Christian, unfaithful, or even unchristian to have doubts. However, Jesus welcomed the doubters, helped them, and sent them out with a task.
Bringing It Home
Through these verses, God reminded me that we all have doubts, and that having them doesn’t mean he’s done with us. Rather, God showed me three steps to help me—and all of us—deal with our doubts.
Step 1: Admit your doubts
We all have them. We know it. God knows it. So tell God what you are questioning. Tell him what you’re having trouble accepting. Confess your doubts to him and ask for his help in replacing doubts with greater faith.
Step 2: Continue following Jesus
Don’t give up on God. Don’t quit church. Don’t stop following the Savior. Rather, keep worshiping Jesus.
Step 3: Seek wisdom and understanding
Ask God questions. Seek truth from him. Spend time in God’s word, meditating over it. Scripture says if we seek God then we will find him (Prov 8:17; Jer 29:13). God understands and welcomes an honest questioner who genuinely seeks help and understanding. He may not always give you the answer you want, but he will give you the answer that’s true and needed.
I hope these steps help you overcome your doubts. How has God helped you? Comment below and share these steps with others.