VALUE DOUBTS AND MYSTERY
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
— 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
This is a scripture passage that many use in discipling new believers. The New International Version of the Bible footnotes this verse with the reminder that in the Greek language the word “temptation” or “tempted” can also mean “trial” or “testing.” It is a characteristic of the human condition that we often have doubts about God and we feel badly about them. But the story of Job in the Old Testament reveals that we should value our doubts because they bring God close.
Co-worker Ron Boyd-MacMillan tells the story of a missionary to Tibet at the time of the Communist takeover in China. He was imprisoned on the charge of being a counter-revolutionary. Every day for three years he thought he was going to be executed—a strain that ultimately broke him.
Daily he was taken outside and made to kneel down. They put a hood over his head and stated they were going to execute him. Then when he thought he was a goner, they pulled off the hood and laughed at his fear.
He was deprived of sleep and light; often placed in cells with hundreds of screaming people; demanded to renounce his Christian faith—all tactics of psychological torture. He said, “All I had were doubts: whether God was with me; whether God still loved me; even if I was truly a Christian since I was so broken…I was raised never to question God and that doubt was a sin.”
One day wanting to die, he finally prayed and said, “Lord, I have to talk about my doubts to you. I’m sorry it’s all I have to talk about. But I just want to be in touch with you again.”
That night he felt a warm breath in the dungeon, a comforting sweet breath. And he said, “I learned that nothing must keep me from talking to God. I knew from that breath that He even wants to know about my doubts.
Then he was taken to another cell which had a window and he saw the beauty of a colorful sunset. He wept. It was a picture God had drawn in majestic colors with the black ring of mountains in the distance looking like a crown of thorns. He commented, “The colorful sunset told me Jesus is still in charge…The world may be full of human suffering but it is more full of God’s beauty and grace. That got me through. I took my doubts to God and realized His beauty. The next time they took me to a mock execution I knelt and thanked God for the sunset I had seen. My sunset from my God! And when they took off the hood they saw no more fear—only a man at peace ready to die and meet his God.
RESPONSE: Today I will talk to God even about my doubts, trusting Him to help me sense His loving presence.
PRAYER: Thank You God that we can value doubt and we can value mystery assured that You still love us and care for us.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.