I have recently been reading through the book of Genesis, and in particular, about the patriarchs of the faith – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his sons. It has been good to go right back to the founders of our faith and learn from their successes and their failures on their respective walks with God. One of the things that really struck me in my reading about Abraham was that despite being a man of intense faith, he still had his doubts. Up until recently, I believed that doubts were a sign of a lack of faith – that me having doubts about what God had said indicated that I didn’t have faith in His promises, but scripture disagrees with this viewpoint.
Abraham was a man of faith but still had doubts
‘Faith is not the absence of doubt, it is the presence of belief’ – Bill Johnson
If there was one word that characterises Abraham better than any other word that word would be faith. God promised him that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan and that he would have offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky or the sand on the seashore, and despite the impossibility of this happening in the natural, he trusted God that it would happen. This promise that was spoken over him would not be fulfilled in his lifetime, but the first fruits of it would be seen before he died. When Abraham was 100 years old, after 25 years of waiting, God gave him his promised son.
Whilst he maintained his faith in the promise of God he also took actions that indicated that he doubted the fulfilment of this word over his life. Doubting God’s ability to provide him a child supernaturally, he agreed to his wife Sarah’s plan to create a family through her servant Hagar. He tried to fulfil the promise of God himself through earthly means instead of relying upon God to make it happen. God would later say to Abraham that it would not be through his son Ishmael, his child born to Hagar, that the promise would be fulfilled and that he would provide a son through supernatural means. Abraham believed this and took God at His word.
Having doubts does not deny the presence of faith. As said by Bill Johnson, ‘faith is not the absence of doubt, it is the presence of belief’. Abraham was known as a man of faith as he believed God and trusted God despite the doubts he had, and this is the same for us. Our faith is measured by belief and not by a lack of doubts. If you believe God for the promises over your life then you have faith for them, it is as simple as that.
Being tested in faith
‘The promises of God are stronger than the doubts of the enemy’
Don’t beat yourself up if you have to battle doubts about the promises that God has spoken over you as this doesn’t discount your faith in those promises. You may have to do this regularly, it is something that is ongoing for me on my walk with God. I am the kind of person that questions and doubts things and is easily swayed by the circumstances that face me. Having faith requires me to look beyond the impossibilities that are front of me and to trust that God is bigger than the situations that I face.
The season that I am currently in is a season of having my faith and trust in the promises of God tested. It feels like there are new reasons to doubt the promises of God over my life daily, but I continue to hold fast to those promises amidst the doubts that encircle me. The promises of God are stronger than the doubts of the enemy. Whenever it seems impossible I return to the stories of those who have been before, how amidst greater uncertainty and impossibility they held onto the words of God and He did what He said He would. I recount the numerous times that God has been faithful to His word in my life and how He has wowed me with showing up in the most unlikely of ways. These “trophies” of faith encourage me to hold on and continue to believe for the things that God has said that in the natural seem impossible.
No matter how much you may have doubted God’s promises in the past you can choose today to have faith and believe Him that He will be faithful. Don’t be dismayed and overcome by your doubts, but remember that God is bigger than whatever situation you are facing and that his promises are stronger than any doubts you have. Take Him at His word and believe.