A Note from Lifeway Girls: How many of us can say we NEVER struggled with doubt in our faith? Probably only a few, if even that. Some seasons of doubt can be short while others can last longer and go deeper, but the truth is no matter how much you are immersed in the Christian culture, doubt can sneak in. Think about the story of Thomas—he walked with Jesus for years, yet he still doubted Jesus’ resurrection. Our prayer is that your heart will be softened to your daughter or the girl in your small group who doubts and questions. Megan does a beautiful job to equip you to lead her and love her even in her doubting.
Is the Word really true? Is Jesus really who He says He is? Did the virgin birth actually happen? Am I a true Christian if I continue to struggle with sin? How can I know that I’m saved? How can I understand God’s love when all I see is the suffering around me?
A lot of us are faced at some point with doubts concerning our faith, though for some people it may be a more ongoing struggle. Doubts can be especially difficult during the Christmas season, since it’s supposed to be a time of joy and celebration. If doubt is not something you’ve dealt with in your own life, it might feel overwhelming to help one of your girls walk through this experience. You may be concerned about saying the right thing or anxious about trying to answer all her questions and provide her with certainty.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer or quick fix for this struggle, but God can use you as an instrument of His love as you walk alongside those who face doubts. Here are a few ideas to help you on this journey:
- Stand beside her, not against her. Doubts can feel isolating and shameful. Share your own experience with doubt, or at least let her know that she’s not alone in these thoughts.
- Ask questions in order to gain understanding. Help her to give voice to the specific doubts she struggles with. In addition to shame, she is probably also dealing with a good bit of fear; give her a safe place to be honest.
- Take time to discuss the content of her doubts, and take her to Scripture so that she can be better equipped with an understanding of what the Word says about each topic. The doubts may stem from confusion or lack of teaching in a particular area.
- Encourage her to look outside herself and observe the faith of other people. Sometimes we need to lean on others while we find our footing.
- Teach and remind her about God’s character—His compassion, patience, presence, provision and grace. Ultimately, knowing God is a matter of relationship, not just logic or facts.
- Lead her in learning to cry out to God in a posture of humble dependence and surrender. We sometimes look for a particular feeling or level of understanding to help us have assurance. But we need to focus instead on receiving and responding to His Word as true, with a heart of worship.
Every person’s struggle with doubt is different, but these are some general concepts that can help guide you as you enter into their journey. Above all, draw near to these girls with a heart of love and compassion, with gentleness and patient perseverance. May they see in you a reflection of God’s grace.