The ditches of doubt are often deep and painful. When a person falls into one of those ditches, it often takes a great deal of time and work to climb back out onto the road of peace. How does one fall into the these troublesome ditches? Sometimes it happens as a result of open and rebellious sin and guilt that follows. At other times it comes as a surprise, much like a sudden automobile accident. Perhaps it’s the result of dwelling on past sins. Below are several things to consider when you find yourself in the deep ditch of doubt.
Remember: The Devil Enjoys Leading People Into Doubt
In Revelation 12:10, we see that Satan is referred to as the “accuser of our brothers.” He is the one who enjoys making accusations against you and his primary target is centered upon the children of God. According to John 8:44, Satan is not trustworthy. This verse states, “When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Have you found yourself discouraged as you slipped down into the bowels of doubt? As you doubt the genuineness of your salvation, you drop lower and deeper into doubt. Perhaps you doubt that God cares for you as you go through difficult circumstances in your life. In the midst of your despair, you question the ability of God to forgive you and restore you. In such moments of grief, you’re left exposed to the attacks of Satan who is a master deceiver and discourager.
Remember: God is Faithful
Examining yourself to see if you’re in the faith is not a bad thing, but to constantly doubt your salvation is not what God intends for His children. In moments of deep doubt, think upon the goodness and faithfulness of God. Is God faithful? Has God ever failed – even one time? Consider David as he was running from Saul in the mountains. Was God faithful to him? Did God keep His promise? Deuteronomy 7:9 states, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”
Remember: You Must Draw Near to God
When you find yourself in a ditch of doubt, you must try to consider what caused you to fall into that deep and painful ditch. Was it a sinful mistake that caused you to fall prey to the schemes and attacks of Satan? In your post-sin state, do you feel exposed, sinful, and cut off from God? You must remember that God is faithful. According to Romans 5:20, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”
As you recall the promises of God, you can draw near to God and He will draw near to you. If sin was the cause of your doubts, you need to repent as you draw near to God. God is faithful to forgive you, but you must take action regarding your sin. As God draws near to us – He provides us that peace and assurance that’s necessary to be productive Christians in this world of darkness.
In John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, a scene in that story is always a great encouragement to me. It’s where Hopeful and Christian walked off of the path and found themselves captured by the Giant Despair. They were imprisoned in the Dungeon of Doubting Castle. In this dungeon, they experienced great beatings and near death circumstances. They were discouraged. And then, suddenly, a great discovery was made by Christian:
What a fool I have been, to lie like this in a stinking dungeon, when I could have just as well walked free. In my chest pocket I have a key called Promise that will, I am thoroughly persuaded, open any lock in Doubting-Castle.” “Then,” said Hopeful, “that is good news. My good brother, do immediately take it out of your chest pocket and try it.” Then Christian took the key from his chest and began to try the lock of the dungeon door; and as he turned the key, the bolt unlocked and the door flew open with ease, so that Christian and hopeful immediately came out.
We must remember to hide God’s promises in our hearts so that if we find ourselves in a deep ditch of doubt, or as in Bunyan’s story, the Dungeon of Doubting Castle, we will have a key to the door and it will allow us to escape.
Don’t remain in the ditches of doubt. God is faithful. God is enough.
Psalm 73:25-26 – Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.