Category: Doubt

Move Forward Despite Doubt

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By Paula Marolewski, September 22, 2010 10:32 am

“Therefore, thus says the LORD, ‘If you return, then I will restore you – before Me you will stand; and if you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become My spokesman. They for their part may turn to you, but as for you, you must not turn to them.’” Jeremiah 15:19

When I first studied this passage – and even since then – I have struggled with God’s response to Jeremiah’s doubt and despair. In the previous verses, his prophet poured out his heart to God, asking if God was really with him, if he cared, if was going to act. And God’s answer is almost brusque: “Get your relationship with me right, do your job, and stand up.”

Not exactly comforting. But sometimes, the fact is that we don’t need comfort. We need a kick in the pants. Doubt can mire us down – as it evidently was doing for Jeremiah. Plus, he had apparently let his doubts draw him away from God. On all fronts, he was stuck.

God knew that this was a time for tough love, so he pointed out the problem, and commanded his prophet to get his act together and do his job. Likewise, we sometimes need this tough love. It’s as if God is saying to us, “Yes, you’re doubting. Yes, things are hard. Here’s my answer: get back on your knees and start praying, then stand up and do your job, doubts or no doubts. It’s time to get your priorities straight.”

No pity parties allowed. Stand up, and move forward.

  • How do you tend to respond when someone rebukes or reproves you? Why?
  • What happens to your faith if you focus on your doubts?
  • What do you need to do right now to move forward despite your doubts?


© 2010 Paula Marolewski,

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Jesus is the Truth

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By Paula Marolewski, September 22, 2010 10:31 am

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life…’” John 14:6

When I am doubting, I want answers. I want specific facts to lay to rest my specific questions.

But over time I have learned that facts are not where truth really lies. I know this, because no matter how many facts I have on hand, my doubts never fully disappear. I doubt the new facts as they appear, and new answers only give rise to new questions.

Instead, truth – and its companion, peace – is found in relationship with the One who is the Truth: Jesus Christ. 

When I am focusing on my relationship with Jesus, I can be content to know that he knows the answers to my questions – I don’t have to have all the answers myself. I am comforted to know that he loves me and cares for me and protects me – in and through my doubts. I am perfectly safe from the storm of doubt when I know and have confidence in the Captain who stands at the helm of my ship. The storm may still rage, but I know that he will see me safely to shore.

  • When you are struck with doubt, be sure to spend time reading the Word. Not reading to “find an answer” to your questions, but reading to understand God better.
  • It can be hard to pray when you are doubting, especially if you are doubting the existence or love of God himself. Write out a series of verses that talk about God, Jesus, and his love for you. Read the verses aloud before you enter a time of prayer, and use them as a springboard for praying. For instance, John 3:16 might unfold into a prayer like this:

“God, I affirm that you loved this fallen world so much – and that includes me – that you sent your very best to save it. That very best was your Son, Jesus. Thank you for giving your very best, even when you knew I would doubt him and you. Jesus, thank you for coming and dying on the cross to save me, even though you knew that I would doubt you now. Your love encompasses and transcends my doubts. You have given eternal life to me because I truly believe in you, regardless of what my doubts are now whispering inside me. Help me to know you better through this period of doubting, so that my faith in you and my love for you would grow even stronger.”


© 2010 Paula Marolewski,

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Doubting is Human

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By Paula Marolewski, September 22, 2010 10:25 am

“Why has my pain been perpetual and my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will You indeed be to me like a deceptive stream with water that is unreliable?” Jeremiah 15:18

You need not be ashamed of your doubts. Doubting is very human. Even great prophets like Jeremiah, whose lips had been touched by God himself, doubted.

Here, Jeremiah was doubting God’s goodness and reliability. He knew God existed and had called him, but God seemed to have let him down. God didn’t appear to be providing either the resources or the results his prophet expected.

In your struggles in life, you are very likely to have the same doubts at some point – perhaps at many points: “Where are you, God? Do you care? Where are your resources? What happened to your promises? Where is your presence? I feel so alone – so abandoned.”

When you have these doubts, take this for comfort: even the great prophets of old had those questions. You don’t need to be ashamed because of your doubts. Acknowledge them. Admit them.

And remember this: ultimately, God never let them down. The same will be true for you.

  • What kind of doubts do you struggle with most frequently?
  • What does it mean to you to realize that men and women of great faith through all the millennia have doubted as you are doubting now?


© 2010 Paula Marolewski,

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Praying through Fear and Doubt

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By Paula Marolewski, July 11, 2010 4:19 pm

The other day, I was praying and found myself saying urgently, “God, don’t fail me!”

I stopped, caught by my own words.

I was praying to the God of the universe. The God who not only speaks truth, but who is Truth. What he promises, he will do. What he says, he will accomplish. He is all-powerful, all-loving, and in control. Why then, did I pray, “God, don’t fail me!”

My uttered plea was really the result of my fear and doubt. Fear that God would lie or talk in double-speak, like the anthropomorphized gods of Greek and Roman mythology. Doubt that God loved me or had the power to do what he promised he would.

So right there, I flipped the prayer around to the way I really needed to be praying:

“Lord, you know my fear and my doubt. You see my anxious thoughts. You know how frail I am; how easily I fall. But I pledge right now to stand on the truth of your Word – that you are always truthful, always loving, always sovereign. God, don’t let me fail you!”


© 2009 Paula Marolewski


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Sentence Prayers

God in a Box

A Letter to a Friend Struggling with Doubt

By Paula Marolewski, August 25, 2009 7:56 pm

Dear Friend,

I want to encourage you that doubt and questioning are a normal part of maturing in your Christian faith. For many people, it’s the “rite of passage” that brings them from believing because they’ve been told, to believing because they know. In fact, I would say it’s not only normal, but it’s healthy.

For my own part, doubt and questioning have been an integral part of my growth in my faith. And I have to tell you this: I still struggle with periods of doubt. They come now and then, shaking me to my core, and making me re-examine what I believe. But through it all, God has proven himself faithful, good, and true – and has used these scary periods of time to strengthen me, increasing my knowledge of Scripture and my understanding of himself.

This is a scary period in your life. It’s not a comfortable thing to have the ground ripped out from under you – I know. So let me make bold to give you some anchor points to help you as you feel tossed about:

First, approach your doubt with prayer. This may seem almost a contradiction in terms, because God is the very Person you are doubting. So what? If he’s not there, he can’t answer. If he is there, he will be pleased to answer the honest seeker’s prayer. If he’s there and doesn’t want to answer an honest prayer, he wouldn’t be a God you’d want to serve, anyway. So pray: tell him you’re not sure he’s even there. Ask him to show you the truth. Remember: God can handle your questions. This period in your life comes as no surprise to him. Don’t be afraid to pray.

Second, keep reading the Bible. You see, it’s very easy in periods of doubt to throw out the Bible and stop praying and cease going to church and all the rest of it – because you’re questioning all those things. But that means you are not giving God an honest chance to demonstrate to you that Christianity is true. If you doubt and question, and only feed your mind with philosophies and books and conversations that are anti-Christian, you’re going to “load the dice” in favor of a non-Christian decision. Don’t kid yourself: we’re very easily swayed by what we take in – and if we take in 100% of a certain idea for a long enough time, we’re going to believe it’s true – simply because we don’t have any input presenting an alternative view. If you really want to know the truth, then you have to be fair in your search for it.

Third, journal your thoughts. Keep it private and safe, so that you can be honest in the journal. But it’s important to write things down, because when you’re feeling tossed about in your thoughts and beliefs, it’s hard to think straight. I know that from long experience. But when you write it down, you can at least look at your questions in black and white, and review what your thoughts are and what you’ve learned. That helps you think with your mind, rather than with your emotions – which right now are pulling you in every direction.

As a final word of advice: Don’t rush this process. This is going to take time. It should. It’s serious business, and you are asking serious questions. Take the time you need. If that means months of reading and researching and asking questions, then take those months. God will be with you every step of the way.

I’ve been where you are. I understand how hard it is. And I’ve come through it with my feet on solid ground. You will, too.

In Christ,



© 2009 Paula Marolewski,

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