Links Daily Devotional

God and Our Doubts

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:5-8, NIV)

I am a rookie…for the third time: 1994 – Futures Tour, Asian Tour, and European Tour; 1995 – LPGA Tour; and 2017 – The Legends Tour.

I’m not particularly fond of today’s bit of scripture because I struggle with doubt in many areas of my life, not just golf.My status for the first 2017 Legends Tour event at Grandview Golf Course in Arizona put me in the Friday qualifier to play for one of two spots available for the weekend. I arrived in Phoenix having had very little practice and feeling a little anxious about it.

I was able to practice for a couple days beforehand and felt more settled, but by my Friday morning tee time the nerves kicked in. Nervousness is a natural response to a competitive round, but I was also feeling something more significant. Doubt. Doubt nestled in and I left me unsettled throughout my round.

It would have been easy for me to say, “I haven’t practiced so I shouldn’t expect much” and then move on, but the truth is that doubt left me stuck between belief and unbelief in my talent. My swing hadn’t changed since my practice round, yet I became tentative (especially off the tee) and I had to fight hard on each and every shot. I grinded out a 74 and ended up losing in a two-hole playoff. Overall it was a respectable score, but I don’t like how much doubt affected me.

I’m not particularly fond of today’s bit of scripture because I struggle with doubt in many areas of my life, not just golf. James tells us that if we ask for wisdom from God, then we must believe and not doubt. If we doubt, then we are a double-minded, unstable people who should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Ouch!

Doubt is not the opposite of faith, nor is it the same as unbelief. Doubt is an unstable place between faith and unbelief, a wavering between accepting something as true and rejecting it (thus the double-mindedness).

If this is true, then how do we address our doubt(s)? First, it’s important to take doubt seriously and give it our attention. When we acknowledge doubt, we open a path that can lead us toward a deepening of our faith. But when we ignore it, doubt festers and can tip us toward unbelief.

According to Os Guinness, author and social critic, “Doubts are messengers of the living One to the honest.” Doubt does not have to defeat us. We can choose for it to lead us into more curiosity about God’s promises and to ask honest questions about the stress and confusion we feel. This will require vulnerability because to confront doubt we need to ask two questions, “What do I desire?” and “What do I want?”

These questions nudge us to consider who God created us to be and whether he really does give generously without finding fault. I want to ask honest questions about my doubt(s)—whether it’s about my golf talent or spiritual matters—so that I can engage the deeper desires of my heart, desires that God has given me and ones that deserve my attention. How about you?

Tracy Hanson
March 16, 2017
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