“22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:22-24)
I. Sometimes disappointment brings doubt. Is that alright?
A. At times, I believe all of us struggle with questions.
B. In Psalms 88, the psalmist seems to blame God for his painful situation. His cries to God are dark and hopeless. (Psalms 88:3-5)
“3 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
4 I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:
5 Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.” (Psalms 88:3-5)
C. In Psalms 22, while the Psalmist is still feeling abandoned, there is hope. Despite his pain, he still trust in God’s faithfulness. (Psalms 22:1-9)
“1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
8 He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.” (Psalms 22:1-9)
D. Psalms 22:3, 9, gives us the revelation “but You.” The hope is the reality of God despite circumstantial doubt.
II. When has God’s plan surprised you about how different it was from your own plan?
A. Sometimes we doubt or question God because we’re in pain. Maybe a family crisis, a health issue, betrayal, death or the suffering of others.
B. Sometimes we question because we are processing and trying to figure it out. “It seems like God is not answering my prayer?”
C. Sometimes it’s because we just need to vent and think. “I don’t understand?”
If God? Where is God? Why me?
III. Questions and doubts are normal but we can’t lose our hope in God. Say, “But God!!!
A. From mother Teresa’s letters they found after she passed:
1. “Please pray especially for me that I may not spoil His work and that our Lord may show Himself — for there is such terrible darkness within me, as if everything was dead,” she wrote in 1953. “It has been like this more or less from the time I started ‘the work.’”
2. Then in 1956: “Such deep longing for God — and … repulsed — empty — no faith — no love — no zeal. (Saving) souls holds no attraction — Heaven means nothing — pray for me please that I keep smiling at Him in spite of everything.”
3. And then in 1959: “If there be no God — there can be no soul — if there is no soul then Jesus — You also are not true.”
B. At times she also found it hard to pray:
1. “I utter words of community prayers — and try my utmost to get out of every word the sweetness it has to give — but my prayer of union is not there any longer — I no longer pray.”
2. John the Baptist (Luke 7:20)
“20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?”
3. Doubting Thomas, “Unless I see.” (John 20:25-29)
“25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:25-29)
4. Jesus in the garden and on the cross, “Pass this cup” (Matthew 26:39) “Why have You forsaken Me.” (Matthew 27:46)
“39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39)
“46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
IV. On our journey with God we can be honest.
A. It’s normal to have questions and doubts, and God understands. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
“14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)
B. Be honest about your feelings with your family, your kids or someone you are close to. Talk about it.
C. Never forget no matter what you go through – but God – Hope in God!