One of the most common struggles in the Christian life is doubt. Doubt in a nutshell is a lack of trust in God’s love for us. When we doubt, we don’t believe that God truly has our best interests in mind. Because we don’t believe that He has our best interest in mind, we begin to fear. As St. John the apostle tells us in scripture: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
How is it that we doubt and fear in our relationship with God? Read below to uncover the ways we doubt God in our lives.
1. “God is holding me back from achieving my dreams”
This thought happens when we are frustrated that the plans we’ve made for ourselves are not coming to fruition. It is a natural human reaction. Our desire to be in control of our lives, directly conflicts with the child like dependency on God that is needed in the Christian life. When this frustration arises we need to remind ourselves of Jeremiah 29: 11-13, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’”
What does this scripture tell us? It tells us that God does not will what is bad for us. On the contrary He wills what is good for us. But because we are fallen creatures, we struggle with seeing this good that He has planned. We often only have eyes for the path of destruction, because it seems to be the path that is most fulfilling. In reality, we should look for God’s will in every moment of our lives. Because it’s God will that will lead to peace – nothing else. We need to remember that our time on our earth is not about fulfilling our dreams, but about fulfilling God’s dreams for our life.
2. “He disciplines me too much”
Another moment when we doubt God’s love is in suffering. When something bad happens, i.e. a humiliation, an injury, loss of a job, end of a relationship, an illness etc., we automatically respond “God why are you punishing me? Why don’t you care about me?” We respond in this way because the pain of suffering clouds our ability to see God’s love for us. Again to repeat the point I made above: God does not will what is bad for us. Willing evil into our lives and allowing us to suffer are two completely different things. God only does the latter and never the former.
The suffering that God allows in our lives aids us in on our path to holiness. As it says in Sirach 2:5: “For in fire gold is tested, and the chosen, in the crucible of humiliation.” Humiliations and sufferings help us die to ourselves and live for Christ. When we begin to live for Christ, we truly begin our walk to Heaven. In the same way than an athlete cannot expect improvement without training, so too the Christian cannot expect holiness without trial. God allows you to be tested because He loves you! The next time you face a difficulty say a quick thank you and ask God for the grace to face the difficulty well.
3. “God will react to this situation just like I would”
This thought process is completely false and we’ve all been there. We do this when we create God in our own image, meaning we think that God will react to our ups and downs in the same way that we would.
There is the scrupulous Catholic, who thinks the ugliness of their sin is too ugly for God to forgive. And on the other end there is the lax Catholic, who thinks that God is okay with their sin because of His “open-mindedness”. Both these extremes are guilty of assuming they know how God will react to their respective situations. They are projecting their worldviews onto God and this is in actuality pride.
In the book of Isaiah God tells us; “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”’ The cliffnotes version: “let me do my thing – I’m God.”
So, let’s get out of God’s way. Don’t be a block to the flow of His grace in your life. We have to allow His forgiveness to shower us when we are repentant and His justice to set us right when we are blind to sin. If we continue to make God into our own image, we are setting ourselves up for failure. I don’t know about you, but I know for a fact that I don’t want to serve a God who acts and thinks like me – that would be the worst!
Take some time to tonight to honestly ask yourself how you have doubted in God’s goodness today. Write them down and ask God in prayer how can you improve upon this lack of trust.
Jesus, I trust in you!
Jesus, I trust in you!
Jesus, I trust in you!
Sister Faustina, Jesus’s messenger of Divine Mercy to the world, pray for us!
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