{Knowing God} When Doubt Comes…


There have been a lot of them: parenting moments that I’ve felt more than unqualified for over the years. But I don’t know if my heart would have ever been prepared for the night that my boy told me he wasn’t sure if he believed in God.

According to him, he was eighty percent sure – an encouraging score when it comes to laundry completion and math tests – but definitely not the number I was looking for when it came to his faith. My mind raced through the days and years that my husband and I had lovingly pointed him towards Christ. Oh, the Bible stories he had heard… the church services he had attended. Hadn’t God heard my hundreds of pleading prayers for my children to love Him with all of their hearts, souls and strength?

Oh, this mama’s heart.

I usually find myself sitting on the edge of his bed for our nighttime routine, but this night you’d better believe that I crawled all the way in to lay right next to him and listen to his heart. Everything in me wanted to talk instead of listen; to convince him that of course he believed. But deep down I knew that he had to wrestle through his doubt and come to his own conclusion.  That my faith couldn’t be his. As I listened to my questioning ten year old, I recognized that the doubts he was facing weren’t new or unique to him. Many people throughout the Bible – and many of us – go through seasons of doubt when it comes to knowing God.

Some grow up in church, hearing Bible stories and praying mealtime prayers for as long as they can remember. Belief seems obvious, but head knowledge doesn’t always translate into heart knowledge. Some aren’t exposed to God until later in life, where people and experiences have already crept in and jaded what they’ll let their heart believe. Either way, there is often a disconnect when it comes to making a personal decision about the truth of who God really is.

Where have we gone wrong?

Here are some common “head games” that we play: roadblocks that we put up that keep God at a distance and limit the Truth of who He is from solidifying into our hearts. See if you can relate with any of these…

1. We base our knowledge of God on our emotions. If things go our way, God must be for us. If we don’t get what we want, we question if there is a God who really loves us. Our human emotions often sway with every season, joy and trial, and at best can be unstable, unpredictable and shallowly based on our limited view of God’s control over all things (Rom. 8:28). Until we are mature in the knowledge of Christ (Eph. 4:13-14), we’ll continue to be tossed by every wave that comes our way, and our knowledge of God will be skewed.

2. We base our knowledge of God on current suffering, past hurts or people who have wronged us. It’s impossible to live in this world and escape hardship (John 16:33). Because of sin, we experience everything from hurt feelings to costly wars against nations. But who we attribute that hardship to often determines what we believe about God.  There is a sad number of people in this world who have turned their backs on God because they have been hurt by sinful people (all of us – Rom. 3:23) or difficult circumstances.  The Bible warns us that it is better to take refuge in the Lord than in humans (Psalm 118:8). Though we may not always understand God’s ways, when we really know Him, we can be sure that He is for us (Rom. 8), He gives good gifts to His children (Matt. 7:11), and that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:6).

Sometimes it is through the hard stuff, the hard years, that we truly develop our relationship with God. We learn to be broken before Him. Sometimes when we get to the place where He is all we have, we find that He is really all we need.” ~ Angela, You Are Loved, pg. 32

3. We base our knowledge of God on what we can understand. I need this reminder often: God is God and I am not. God instructs us to seek Him and know Him, but sometimes we fail to remember that we don’t want a God that we can completely understand. Since He is God, His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9) and His ways are foolishness to the world (1 Cor. 1:27-29). Just because we can’t always understand Him doesn’t mean that we should stop trusting Him or give up in our pursuit to know Him more. It just means that as believers, we won’t know everything until we get to heaven (1 John 3:2).

4. And maybe the hardest truth? We’re just plain lazy. I don’t want to admit it either, but the truth is we’re a generation that wants quick knowledge and fast results.  Instead of a hard and steady pursuit, we want immediate gratification. Knowing God takes a commitment to a relationship with God. It takes sacrifice, study and daily searching for Truth. Knowing God is not a passive activity that just “happens.” Rather, we know God more when we actively pursue Him and His Word (Jer. 29:12-13).

In an effort to really get to know God, my boy took on a challenge to read the Bible five days a week for an entire school year. He prayed for God to reveal Himself to him, journaled his thoughts, asked his dad and me lots of questions, and wrestled through some academic things on his own.  As much as a young boy could, he sought to really know who God is. As a result of his pursuit and the work of the Holy Spirit, I’m thrilled to report that his eighty percent is now a solid 100%.

But knowing God doesn’t stop there.

A passionate relationship with the Creator of the universe isn’t just about a one-time decision or simply about filling our minds with facts. Knowing God is a lifelong pursuit of the One who sent His Son to die for us, where we allow His life and death to impact us in such a way that our behaviors, our perspectives, our futures – our everythings – are forever changed because of Him.

We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding…” ~ 1 John 5:20

Friend, do you know Him today?

At His feet,

**LET’S TALK: Do you struggle with one of the “roadblocks” to knowing God mentioned above?  How has the truth of God’s Word helped you to overcome feelings of doubt when it comes to your faith?

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  1. How do I get a copy of You Are Loved by Sally Clarkston. I am new to this.

  2. Melissa says:

    I know that God loves me. There are times when something happens or I am in pain or dizzy from pain, and I ask God, “Why?” But, I am so thankful that I know that God loves me and is with me in every situation. I am His child. :-)

    • Oh Melissa,
      He is with you!! Praying that God will show Himself so present and real in your life as you work through your pain, and that if it His will, that He will even take your pain away. So thankful that God uses hard times to show Himself faithful to us, and I’m so proud of you for remembering Truth in the midst of your struggle.

      Much love,

  3. Tammy Eifert says:

    What a wonderful opportunity this has been! I am enjoying the. Scripture and the thought provoking commentary.

  4. Suzanne R. from EastTexas says:

    #4 Hit me this morning, right where I’m stuck! I have been in funk lately, as soon as I read that paragraph, I felt the Witness inside of me stir.
    I have a tendency to be impatient with God’s timing and the result is doubt, discontent and an overall poor attitude.
    Your words this morning remind me, that He is God and because He is, I must get off the throne and let Him move, in His timing… meanwhile, praising Him in the storm

    • Suzanne,
      The fact that you are here immersing yourself in God’s Word is a great sign that God is working in your heart. Yes, God, may You move in and take over every area of our lives, and let us continue to praise You while we wait for You to work! Praying for you, sweet sister!

  5. Jaime McLeod says:

    Last November when my family and I were homeless for almost a month, I was doubting if God loved me. I believed in Him, but I wasn’t 100% sure if He loved me. After we came out of our situation and God blessed us with a duplex that we actually bought, I came to the understanding that God does love me. He wanted me to trust Him, I mean really trust Him. He wanted my faith to grow and for me to trust even when I couldn’t see anything at all. This situation has also allowed my husband and I to show our kids that all we need is God. We prayed constantly and still found ways to laugh and smile during our struggles. It is something I will never forget and I hope my kids will never forget as well. I also took your advice from the Thanksgiving Study and I made a book with all of our testimonies about how that situation built our faith and what we learned. Actually, that study was at the perfect time because a lot of what we were going though was relevant to what we learned during that study. Thanks again for GMG studies and God bless you all!

    • Jaime,
      Thanks for sharing your powerful faith story with us! May God continue to bless your family as you lean into Him and walk forward in faith. I might just create a book like that for my family. Beautiful!
      Good Morning Girls Leader Encourager

    • Jaime….I am so so thankful you shared your testimony because I can relate to what you are saying so so well. Last year at this time my teen daughter and I were homeless in the sense we had no permanent dwelling place to call our own and were bouncing from one person’s home to another with no seemingly hope in sight of when we would finally have a place of our own. And I was scared, feeling helpless, even angry and about ready to give up on God b/c how can a loving God let us go through things like that..BUT He did love us and still loves us and while we went through most of the summer going from one temporary place to another, what matters is that we never ended up literally on the streets. We didnt have to sleep in our car or go a shelter. He continued to provide people who opened up their homes to us even if for just a week or so until we were able to move to Florida and be with family who also opened up their home to us and have given us a more permanent place to be for as long as we need. Jaime you hit the nail on the head in your situation and described what God did in mine as well. I wasnt in control, He was and He wanted me to recognize that and to realize my absolute and complete need to be dependent on Him and His provisions..I learned alot about faith and trust through those circumstances and now I am more assured than ever before exactly what God can do when we call on Him and trust in Him!! Wishing you and your family well and again thank you for sharing..What an awesome and loving God we serve!!!

    • Oh Jaime,
      Your words SO encourage my heart tonight… God is so faithful, even when we can’t always understand. Keep telling your story, friend, so that God gets much glory. Your life is a beautiful testimony for Him!
      Much love,

  6. Sally hicks says:

    God is so good! Thankful that he is the light in my life! No one can steal that away!

  7. Sheri Schoolet says:

    As your son, I have also struggled with the reality and love of God. Recently, I have been battling breast cancer, never in a million years would I think this could happen to me. My husband has Pastored many churches, I have worked along side him in the faith. Now that I am facing such a personal struggle, I feel turned upside down, abandoned. I have committed to this Bible study to get turned right side up. Thanks for all the encouragement.

    • Hi Sheri,
      I to have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Monday will mark one month since my first surgery. I will be in prayer for you. My daughter and my Mom have had some family problems and God told me that I had to go through with this in order for them to come together and see each other after a year of not seeing each other. All I could do is trust God for everything. Just writing this I’m in tears because He has been with me all the way. I have felt His presence so much through all of it. It has been an amazing journey and I have so many people praying for me. May the Lord guide you and keep you in His care. If you would like to email me just even for prayer please do. Blessings to you. :)

    • Sweet Sheri,
      I am praying for you, my friend, and am so proud of you for pursuing God especially during this uncertain time. God has not left you. He is for you, and He longs for you to find comfort, strength and peace in His strong, able arms.
      Much love to you tonight,

  8. Great post, every word, truth!

  9. Whitney,
    This is well said. So beautiful how God is speaking to us through you. My youngest daughter is I feel in the same place as your son. She knows God but needs to really trust Him and grow to the full personnel relationship with Him. I hope one day that both of my girls will be at that 100% like your son. Thank you

    • Oh Debbie,
      What a journey of faith this parenting gig is! Praying for your precious daughters tonight as I pray for my own children to know the deep, deep love of God. Be encouraged that God alone has the power to reveal Himself to your girls as you continue to point them towards Truth. I love your heart, friend.

  10. Liz Lynn says:

    I have really been dealing with this issue lately. My family is struggling financially and I have health problems that make it hard for me to do much. I have wondered if God was punishing me for past failures. It is a struggle to keep going. I am trying to get my bearings in this new circumstance. Please pray. I would appreciate any thoughts and encouragement.

    • Oh Liz,
      I am so sorry that you are struggling. Run to the Bible, friend (I’ve listed some comforting verses in the blog post!), where you’ll find encouragement and hope in the truth that God has not forgotten you and hears your cries for help. Praying for you tonight.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Doubt: a big ugly word that ran rampant in my mind and life for a year. But what God did with that doubt – increased my knowledge, joy, and, biggest surprise of all, my faith – has far out weighed the pain of the doubt itself. He is mighty to save, friends!

  12. Wow! Very well said!! I have thought these exact things! I’d love to print this off and pass it out to everyone I know!!

  13. I base my knowledge of God on my emotions. Okay I’m going to come right and say it: I’m not doing okay. I left God 5 times over the past month due to my feelings of unworthiness guilt shame feeling like a fraud a hyprocrite. I have no assurance of salvation whatsoever and all I see when I look in that mirror is someone wicked and evil.
    I have these labels for myself and I can’t post on this blog what they are because they are vulgar profane labels. As if all this wasn’t enough my Dad committed suicide this past April. Ugh. So on top of all this inner turmoil I’m dealing with the aftermath of suicide.

    Pray for me.

    • Dear Angela,
      God is with you not matter how you feel. Even there,in your worst feelings, He is there nearest to you. Your name means messenger. I pray In Jesus Name for you, His messanger, to be set free of these lying messages so that you hear and may speak the true messages God has sent you to speak. You are worth more than rubies, you are no longer guilty of anything Angela, Jesus has paid everything for you and His blood is worth more than silver or gold, it is not fraud, you are not fraud, you are an authentic, an original woman made in Gods image, that He has crafted to go into all the world and show how he sets the captives free. In Christ you can do everything that He has made you to do despite anything. He works in you! His work is what keeps you coming back to Him. Know. He. Loves. You with an unconditional, never stoping, never giving up, never forgetting, always forgiving, selfless love. He is building you up, to do His good work that He has assiginged you. He will enables you to do more than you can imagine in His name. Don’t worry! Expect of Him not of yourself. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength to do it. You have complete assurance of salvation forever and ever bc Accepting the sons free gift to you is a complete assurance, again and again nothing can steal this away not a bad day or a bad attitude or any fault imaginable. You are HIS, He marked you with His Name! Look in the mirror and see a gentle, loving spirit, loved and loving, you are not evil, but You are good, made by God, all good things come from Him. You are from His heart. This world has touched us with unspeakable pain and hurts that we cast upon ourselves with words that blind us with a mask, Jesus longs you to reach up and remove this mask of lies, so you can see “Angela”, His lovely one. His messanger. Jesus is in you Angela, He will never leave you nor forsake you. He has begun a good and perfect work in you that He will complete. You are beautiful! Prayers and Love from your sister in Christ, Angelia

    • Sweet Angela,
      I love your honesty, and am so thankful that you were brave enough to share with us. God loves you, my beautiful friend… I want you to let that sink deep into your soul tonight. Praise God that salvation does not come through anything WE can do; rather, God offers His FREE gift of salvation through the work that His Son, Jesus, did on the cross. Jesus came to live and die for us to rescue us from our sin, in obedience to His Father, because He loves us so. I want to encourage you to read Romans, chapter 8 – an incredible comfort to me when doubt comes. Stopping to pray for you right now.
      Much love,

  14. Yolanda says:

    We have to keep pursuing God, for it will take us an eternity to know Him.

  15. Praying for you Sheri. That God would surround you with His glorious light and love.

  16. Samantha says:

    Hi girls,
    I’m a little stuck on Week 2’s Thursday scripture.
    1 John 5:20…I’m not quite sure HOW to apply it, I understand that through Christ we are able to know God and understand His teachings and are able to apply them.
    But I can’t work out what He’s showing me from this verse. I’ve read a lot of commentaries and they focus on the actual meaning but with no mention of applying…just hoping someone can share their thoughts?



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