Doubting God - how can I overcome doubt in my relationship with God?

If you're having struggles with doubting God, do not be alarmed. Every believer has questions and doubts from time to time. Trust in God has to be built and continue growing throughout your life. If you handle your doubts in a healthy way, many times they can be the catalyst that helps you grow spiritually. There are a few effective tools you should use to help you overcome doubt in your relationship with God. These are the same tools we use to get to know God better: Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with other believers.

As we read the Bible, we learn about the qualities of God—His love, faithfulness, trustworthiness, attentiveness, justice, grace, and forgiveness, to name a few—and through them we see His goodness on display. The more we know God, the more faith we can confidently have in Him. The books of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit and they carry the life of the Spirit in them even today (2 Timothy 3:16–17; Hebrews 4:12). As food feeds our physical body, God's Word feeds us spiritually (Matthew 4:4). As we read the Word of God, it helps us to grow in our faith: "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). The Bible encourages us and gives us hope (Romans 15:4). The Bible primarily teaches us about who God is, but it also helps us to learn about ourselves. Hebrews 4:12 says, "the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." God's Word functions as a light to help us navigate the path of our life (Psalm 119:105).

Prayer is the means by which we communicate with God. First John 5:14–15 assures us that God will listen to us: "And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him." God doesn't promise to give us whatever we want; He desires that we pray "according to His will." Prayer is not supposed to be selfishly motivated, focused on asking for useless worldly passions (James 4:3). When we are saved, we are filled with the Holy Spirit and can hear His still small voice speaking to us (Isaiah 30:21; John 10:27; 16:13). We can freely speak our prayers to the Lord, knowing that He will answer them (Jeremiah 33:3).

One thing that can be helpful when praying is to have a prayer journal. Prayer journals don't have to document every word of every prayer, but they can be helpful to keep track of writing down our specific struggles and requests and how God chooses to answer them. Over time, prayer journals can give us a personal record of how God has answered and taken care of us, which can be truly encouraging to look back on during seasons of doubt. A good way to combat doubt is to remember God's faithfulness to us in the past.

Finally, gathering with other believers in Christ can help us overcome doubt. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Paul exhorts believers to "encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." When we are tempted to doubt, it can be easier to isolate ourselves from other believers. We may even feel guilty for having doubts, which could cause us to withdraw. There is no shame in having struggles and doubts throughout our Christian walk, and it's of crucial importance that we stay connected to the body of Christ: "Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near" (Hebrews 10:24–25, NLT).

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