I may question my sanity and fear the world, but Christ has given me zero reasons to fear anything but Him (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV). And when I do fear Him, that fear is not one of gloom and doom, but respect and honor because He brings me life (John 10:10).
As an individual who struggles with anxiety, perhaps one of the worst side effects is doubting everything. From relationships to being good enough or feeling like a hypochondriac, the worst feeling in the world is overbearing questions I develop about salvation.
While I know in my heart that I have been a Christian since I was eight years old, worry and depression often cloud my vision. In a tangled mess of "what if's," questions without answers and uncertainties, my mind is a swirled ice-cream cone that is enough to make anyone feel dizzy and frozen, unable to move out of the dark spaces. But unless I were to tell you these things, or you were excellent at recognizing when my mind is not present, you would not be able to tell the difference.
On the outside, though I am a person doubting doubt and facing fears, I typically look the same. I am the same Amber with the usual smile, small stature, and long hair. Yet on the inside, I am crumbling. I am mulling statements in my mind a thousand times over, overthinking, or questioning my sanity. I feel zoned out a lot and feel like I might pass out. Frequently, I ask the Lord to purify my heart and pray that my salvation and heart are genuine. Daily, I freak out about sickness and disease or wonder why my mind is more likely to think the worst than believe the best.
Although it is a good thing to ensure one's salvation is real and their relationship with Christ is genuine, Christ wants us to rest in the full assurance of His grace. And while it might be helpful to take my temperature and monitor symptoms of a pending sickness, we need to learn to rest in Christ, no matter the questions that come our way.
For myself, I have been thinking a lot about the idea of God as my Father. I have discerned how my experience with my earthly father may have caused me to distort or taint the way I see God. I have also evaluated how I always feel the need to be and do better for the Lord as if my salvation rests on productivity alone.
But this week, I felt the Lord sing the sweetest answer over my soul:
"I am not scared of your doubts, and I bring you a life of freedom, not condemnation. I am not scared of your feelings and fears, so lay them down at my feet."
In John 20, Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter, and John encounter the empty tomb of Jesus' grave. After Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, he then appeared to His disciples, and later, Thomas. While each of them had a different encounter with the Lord, one that struck my soul was Thomas.
Although the other eleven disciples and Mary were quick to believe that Jesus had risen from the grave, He had also revealed Himself to them face-to-face. Scripture tells us that Thomas, on the other hand, "was not with the Disciples when Jesus came" (John 20:24, NIV). And like many of us, Thomas would not believe until the proof was in the pudding.
Think of it this way: When we want to make a change in our lives, rather that be a fitness plan, diet, or spiritual change, we do not believe that we have made progress until we can physically see it with our eyes.
I will not believe that I have six-pack abs until I look in the mirror and see them. I will not trust that my dog isn't going to pee on the floor until he proves to me that he won't! In the same manner, Thomas told Jesus, "I won't believe that you are who you say you are until I see it."
"Now Thomas (also known as Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord!' But he said to them, 'Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe'”( John 20:24-25, NIV).
Today, I wonder how many of us do the same with God? We fail to believe that He is who He says He is until we see His work in our lives. And this is the sorrow of the majority of the world who chooses not to believe in Christ merely because they cannot view Him with the human eye.
Or, some believe in God and have a personal relationship with Him but have also become Pharisees not to others but themselves. We carry the weights and burdens of legalism and religion we were never meant to carry.
As Christians living in the 21st century, the good news is that Jesus Christ promises us Great News and assurance now. Christ tells us that His yoke is easy to bear, and His burden is light in exchange for our burdens (Matthew 11:28-30).
Today, Jesus offers us the ability to believe in Him now and see His work in our lives by partaking in an ever-growing and developing relationship with Him. Because even though I got saved when I was eight, my relationship with Jesus is real. I don't need my hand-written journals or 100 good deeds to prove that. And though the heart is deceitful, I am actively guarding it above all else to rest steadfastly in Him (Jeremiah 17:9; Proverbs 4:23). Faith without works is dead, but works without faith is the same (James 2:14-26). And Jesus came not to abolish the Law but fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). Jesus had to die because we couldn't keep it, not because we could. For if the Law alone made us righteous, then there would have been no reason for Jesus to die.
As I continue to grow in faith with the Lord, I am confident that I am inching closer to Him. And although I remember very little about my relationship with Him before getting saved, that doesn't make my salvation story any less real. I have still witnessed and experienced the hand of God in miraculous ways. I still know He is active in my life, even amid my doubts and fears. For these are the facts:
- That Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever, but my emotions, doubts, fears, and questions are not. Jesus can and should be trusted, but my feelings should not.
- I may question my sanity and fear the world, but Christ has given me zero reasons to fear anything but Him (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV). And when I do fear Him, that fear is not one of gloom and doom, but respect and honor because He brings me life (John 10:10).
- Jesus Christ says in Romans 10:5-13 that if we confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved. And even my doubts cannot stop that truth from being true. Those are the facts.
"For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, 'Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?"' (that is, to bring Christ down) 'or "Who will descend into the abyss?"' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, 'Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'" (Romans 10:5-23, ESV).
Even Thomas, who was with the Lord during His time on earth, doubted that Jesus rose from the dead. He would not believe it until He saw the wounds with His eyes, and touched them with his hands. And don't you wonder if when His hands stroked the scars, his heart felt something more real than he had ever known? Do you wonder if he felt relieved to know the truth, or saddened because he didn't have belief without sight?
When Jesus noticed Thomas' doubts, He did not rebuke his questions or yell at him for his inquiries. Scripture tells us that He invited Thomas to press into the wounds and feel them. And He does the same for us today.
"A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!' Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.' Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!' Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed'" (John 20:26-29, NIV).
Dear child, God is not afraid of your doubts and inquiries. He wants to hear from you and will not turn you away. He is not the Father fed up with too many questions or yelling at you because He is irrational and angry. He does not want you to be ashamed or feel guilty because of your promptings; He wants you to bring them to Him. Our God is a loving, answering, hopeful, life-giving God who delights in each of our enigmas.
Because this I know is true:
- God is faithful.
- God is constant.
- God is truth.
- God is love.
- God is assurance.
God is life, and right now, I am learning to doubt my doubts because doubt no longer has a place or authority in my life. I will not doubt His goodness for me. I will not expel the love He offers to me.
Right here, I am learning to face my fears because fear no longer takes the presidency over my life. I have nothing to fear except the Lord, who calls me to walk on water, tell mountains to move, and glide on the seas. He is not worried. He isn't rushed; I am, and you are. And that is why we fret.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Chad Madden
Amber Ginter is a young adult writer that currently works as an English teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a passionate desire to impact the world for Jesus through her love for writing, aesthetics, health/fitness, and ministry. Amber seeks to proclaim her love for Christ and the Gospel through her writing, aesthetic worship arts, and volunteer roles. She is enrolled in the YWW Author Conservatory to become a full-time author and is a featured writer for Crosswalk,