REASONS TO DOUBT, REASONS TO TRUST
by David Sisler
There are probably as many reasons why people doubt God as there are reasons why they trust him.
Several years ago I heard about a man who doubted God because of a tragedy he experienced.
His daughter, Samantha, was killed the night of her high school graduation. She had attended a party sponsored by her Sunday school class. While driving home, Samantha’s car was struck head on by one driven by a drunk driver.
One of her classmates, had been celebrating at a local bar. He had driven less than a mile when he swerved his car across the road and killed Samantha.
The decorations from the commencement exercises were still hanging in the school auditorium as an ambulance carried Samantha’s broken body to a funeral home.
As soon as he heard the news, Samantha’s pastor rushed to her home. When he walked through the door, the grieving father sprang at him.
“You lied!” he shrieked. “Where were the guardian angels God promised? I thought the angel of the Lord encamped around about those who feared him. He lied and my baby is dead!”
After the funeral, at the grave side he said, “Nice words, preacher. But that’s all they are. Hollow, meaningless words.”
One moment of senseless tragedy erased years of belief. Trust in God turned to bitterness and doubt.
Every time Sandi moves, she hurts. Behcet’s Disease, a rare disorder that has damaged her nerves and muscles, confines her to a wheelchair. When doctors originally diagnosed her condition, they told her she wouldn’t live long. Two years was the best she could hope for, they said. Almost 20 years later, Sandi lives, and copes, and doubts.
A decade ago friends took her to a “healing campaign.” There a minister spoke encouraging words and told her God would heal her. Ten pain filled years later, Sandi believes that God has forgotten his promise.
In Jerusalem, Jewish leaders stirred up the people against the Apostle Paul and arrested him on trumped-up charges. Hatred toward him was intense. Forty men took a vow not to eat until they had killed Paul. A succession of legal administrators heard his defense. Each one avoided responsibility by passing him to another official.
Finally he appealed to Caesar. Paul was loaded on a ship sailing to Rome. On route, a storm of fearful intensity caused the sailors to begin to loose hope. After they had thrown cargo, food, and supplies overboard the ship was still being pounded by the sea.
At that point, when all hope seemed lost, Paul spoke to his fellow shipmates. “Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.”
Then he added, “But we will crash on an island.”
There are so many reasons for us to doubt. Life, sometimes, is simply overwhelming. When these discouraging circumstances occur, the first reaction is often to believe we cannot trust God. So many times our difficulties cause us to forget all of the occasions when God came through on our behalf. “You know with all your heart and soul,” Joshua said, “that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”
The Bible says we can rely on God, in spite of what takes place in our daily lives. The Bible says, we can trust it and the God whose word it is. With Paul, we can say, “I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.” We may, indeed, crash on an island of doubt, but we can trust God’s word. His promises do not change.
Copyright 2002 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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