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Eric's Sunday Sermon; Dealing with Doubt.

Updated on January 25, 2015

A beautiful place up a canyon called Oak Creek.

The rock formation looks over the town of Sedona Arizona -- Red Rock Country
The rock formation looks over the town of Sedona Arizona -- Red Rock Country | Source

Common faith.

People do not proclaim their lack of faith. They hide it like an ugly scar. Few have the courage to admit to another that they lack perfect faith. Do you have times when you lack faith? Faith in anything at all? Many people think they are alone in this and they are not. You are normal if you find yourself lacking faith.

Think for a moment about the possibility of an average person never doubting. How can it be? Well it cannot. Mostly that is a dirty little secret that believers of anything fail to share. Let us take a fun one just because it is seasonable and of little consequence. A football fan has a favorite team. And they have faith in that team’s ability to win games. In some that we call fanatics that faith seemingly never waivers, even in the face of defeat. Their faith is illogical and makes no sense yet they have it. (oh sure there are teams that never lose – but that is a near oddity) Yet when that same person is asked to bet a lot of money on that team, they politely decline. In fact they doubt that their team will win. Their logic takes over and the real world sets in.

Take the patient that has full faith in their doctor. Chances are very good that if it is really important they will seek a second opinion.

The above two examples make perfect sense to most people and they are realities we live with every day.

But let us look at more important issues.

Do we doubt that we are worthy of God's love?

Everyday

Faith in one’s spouse. This we proclaim even if that spouse has let us down time and time again. In love we continue to have faith in that person. Even when perhaps in logic we should not. In the cold reality of life we can see that when that faith breaks down so does the spousal relationship. Lack of faith is the single most cause of divorce when you really look at it. In this case think of how closely trust and faith are related. In fact we use the words almost interchangeably. When trust is lost in a relationship then faith is lost also.

Think of a contract that is yet to be performed. It is a promise of a future event and everyone knows that we cannot control the future to a %100 certainty. So we have faith that the contract will be performed. After a few glitches we begin to waiver in that faith. Soon we may have no faith in the contract at all and that relationship is broken and the sooner the better. This “anticipatory breach” is the cause of serious contractual disputes and the ruin of many a business.

Take the employment situation. An employee who comes in late or does not show for work on a repeated basis loses the trust of the employer to be present when agreed upon. Therefor the employer loses faith that the employee will come into work in the future and soon the employee is fired and replaced thus losing their job due to lack of faith.

These illustrations remind us that trust comes from that which is seen and faith comes from what is unseen. Belief that future events will unfold in one way or another is based on faith. But that faith comes from a time of trust. If trust is broken then faith waivers. This is just a natural fact.

Now to the meat and potatoes of the crux of this issue.

Faith that come spring these leaves again will be green.

The beautiful seasons of nature and life require just a little faith. But sometimes we doubt that sunnier days will ever come.
The beautiful seasons of nature and life require just a little faith. But sometimes we doubt that sunnier days will ever come. | Source

Sometimes in the darkest night in confusion and despair, He is there, have faith and not doubt.

It is alright to doubt.

We routinely profess faith in a God. Should we never profess doubt? For Christians it is a triune God shrouded in a mystery of faith. That faith is taken on matters not logically explainable. One in three and three in one does not make sense and so it is taken on faith. Faith that this God exists and cares for His people.

Now imagine the parent with the child sick in the hospital. The parent and doctors do all they can to help to heal the child but nothing seems to work and the child gets more sick and slips dangerously close to death. The parents and family pray without ceasing and yet nothing comes of it in the short term. Now assume the child recovers. The faith and trust in God is affirmed and the faith grows. Now assume that despite all great effort and unceasing prayer the child dies. Faith and trust are broken. The family is now faced with doubt. This is the normal course of things.

Watch the TV or other news sources and watch the atrocities committed and the suffering unfold throughout the world. This happens constantly and time and time again. How can a reasonable person not lose trust that God cares for us and how can they maintain perfect faith? We must recognize that only a perfect person could be so graced.

But these are dramatic examples and good for illustration but not even a tiny portion of the breaking of faith. The vast majority of the break down in faith is in the day to day and not due to any failure of God. Yes that is correct. Faith is not a one way street. When we start believing that we are in total control of people, places and events our faith breaks down.

The valley of the shadow

It is easy to lose faith when the way looks just to hard to take. Yet that is also the hour of the greatest faith.
It is easy to lose faith when the way looks just to hard to take. Yet that is also the hour of the greatest faith. | Source

The cure is in the process.

Yes there is a cure. The first step is to admit that it occurs. Denial for pride reasons or out of guilt is only to lead to a further internalized break down of faith. It comes with the territory of “not good enough to be loved”. There is a shame involved and often an isolation of feelings.

I once, during a sermon, asked for a raising of hands of those who had doubts. Only a few teenagers raised their hands. Now come on people, we all have doubts. Otherwise we would not try so hard to do it our way instead of God’s way. If we doubt that God will provide if we just do the tasks at hand we begin to try to control the situation and we begin a downward spiral away from faith and into our own understanding and ultimate failure.

And there you have it. The cure for a break in faith is accepting it as normal. If we recognize it we can rise above it and move on. We do not expect to live in a perfect world. Why should we expect that our faith should be perfect? Go ahead and doubt, see it for what it is and move on and upward toward a stronger faith. Is that not the goal? To increase our faith daily by being cognizant of our failures, confessing them and then doing better is great faith.

How about you?

Do you ever doubt?

See results

Forewarned is forearmed? Really?

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Really? There are people who say they have no doubts? My goodness, are they cloned? A little Jurassic Park action with humans? I've had doubts since before I was old enough to spell "doubt."

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      Eric

      Faith for the contract comes in remedies perfected in contract law. Oral contracts can be valid, especially if already performed. Written contracts require less faith as they spell out the conditions and the remedies. And if they are not spelled out they are provided by contract law.

      When you have faith in a person it is usually based on their past performance. You don't have faith in a perfect stranger, you take a chance.

      Faith in anything is a chance that is taken by someone based on any number of criteria, some good, and many bad.

      As a child, didn't most of the children in the US have faith that Santa Claus would leave them presents. As these children grew up what happened to their faith in Santa Claus? It was replaced by reality, but they didn't ruin it for their kids, they kept up the same faith they had when they were kids, just so the fantasy would live in the next generation.

      A person can believe in anything that they choose, but reality is the final judge of that belief. Until the reality of Santa Claus is felt by a person, they continue to believe in SC. Even as their belief or their faith is declining they still don't give up because they have faith they will still get a present. Whether it is from SC or their parents they don't care.

      There are also millions of children that never got visited by SC, and they may still believe but they have never experienced it.

      We know the truth about SC because our intelligence and experience increase as we age, and get to experience reality.

      For some things like the concept of a God, there is no way to prove a non existence. God means different things to different cultures, at different times, but the fact is that no one has been able to have seen God, heaven or hell.

      There are seven billion people on this Earth today, and Christian followers are less than a third of the population. And they are in declining numbers.

      People have not changed since the recording of history. They were evil then and they are evil now. No one has to be taught to be evil, it just comes naturally. But, people have to be taught to be good, and reminded of it all the time.

      There is a difference between Faith, and Blind Faith. The latter is found in the believers of SC and God. Laws are made by people through their governments. Religion is made by people to control people, and keep in check their evil side.

      Do you think that a God made the decision to form the Catholic Church? And if a God did create it, would that God allow the Catholics to change the rules and create other churches outside of the Catholic Church. All of the proteestants rejected something that their human selves didn't want to do to follow the God of the Catholic Church. The Church of England was changed because the King of England didn't like the rules, so he made his own church.

      A dog is faithful, but then again it is not human, and doesn't possess the human intelligence or the other attributes that make humans superior to animals. Yet, Faith in a God throws out that intelligence and replaces it with blind allegiance.

      This is similar to the loyal party voter having faith that their party will make the country a better place, but history shows that faith in either party has failed to materialize their faith.

      So like the controversy about God, the battle continues on which political party should be given the faith of the people.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Dear Eric,

      Another wonderful Sunday sermon from you this beautiful sunny Sunday!

      I have learned early on to never place my faith in other people or daily life as far as what may or may not happen with employment issues and such, but I never waiver no matter what is happening in my life as far as trusting the Lord God to work things out for the good of those who love Him. I do place my full trust and faith in Him and Him alone, and not in the things of this world, for this world is passing away and is temporal and not our true home.

      I have prayed where He immediately answers and heals as requested and then I have prayed and not received the answer that I wanted, but knowing and trusting that His plan for my life and His answers to prayers is what is best no matter what, especially when I do not comprehend such in this life. In doing so, I have that peace, the peace which passes all understanding, His peace.

      I know and completely place my faith in being for God and not against Him, for if that is the reality, then who can be against us.

      We are human and we doubt. Our humanness is our frailty no doubt.

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      God bless you and yours.

      Peace and much love always ...

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      Yes, I have doubts and then I ask questions to find answers to those doubts. I doubt that what I am doing is the right thing to do. I will go inside of my own mind to find the answer to the questions that I seek. Yes, asking the right questions is a doubt for me too. I admit that I have doubts. The thing is with doubts is that those are things that add to our learning experiences and without them we would never grow spiritually. Jesus even doubted on that cross.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Yes Bill I have met them. Hard to believe but they are out there.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Brad for that comprehensive comment. Always glad to have someone read with such enthusiasm for a topic.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I hear your meaning Eric. We should all talk our faith but if we do not admit our many hardships and doubts how can we ever help others. We are only human and practicing faith is all that keeps our heads above water sometimes I think but let's always bring that life jacket for our brother. We can learn to swim together!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Faith that is just lovely. Thank you for adding so much to this "sermon" on this God given Sunday. I work against that doubt and then realize that my working on it is half the problem, then I turn it over and let go and let God and immediately my doubts are gone. But it does take practice. Thanks again for all your wonderful support.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Debra, kind of you to drop in and share your insights with us. I also think that doubts have a purpose and that purpose is to allow us to grow in faith. It works that way for me, but first I have to recognize them, and then all things are possible.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Jackie I just love that word picture you created. Indeed we must carry those extra life jackets for those in more need than us. Your sentiments make me smile and see the peace. How much better to walk (swim) together.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 2 years ago from India

      True words ! I was tempted to read this hub because I have doubts, otherwise I would have been relishing in all bliss in a nirvana state like Buddha. You are a pastor who speaks truth and people who know say that truth liberates. Sir, you have in your hands a wonderful torch that keeps flashing in the dark recesses we have. A great insightful hub ! I relished this open and candid sermon. Thank you very much.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Doubts make the mind clouded and tight to think freely. I try to avoid doubts and if I have any I like to clear that from my mind with a simple walk.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi! Harish. Thank you much. I used to let doubts temper my mind with negative thoughts. Then I found out that I was normal and somehow that lifted the negative. I note that in a fully meditative state there are no doubts, and questions seem to get answered.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Devika I think that a good walk is the finest way to clear the mind and set it free from matters like doubt. The therapeutic benefits just go on and on. Thank you for adding that to this hub.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      I think doubting is normal. I believe it lessens as you see God work in your life. Many people like to pretend they walk In so much faith but In reality faith is something that grows over time.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I don't believe anyone who says they don't ever doubt - impossible!

      If I have grave doubts, I look at my young grandchildren. They have faith in everything and everyone, or at least they will have until someone crushes it. Innocence, faith and trust go hand in hand, so we should all go back to the delight and freedom of childhood (assuming it was a good one and I know others' my not be) or at least the basis of what childhood should be.

      Faith is a rock that we need to be able to build upon for any true and sane life. Therefore, doubt needs to be recognised and wiped away like a dirty mark on the table. Not easy, but necessary.

      Wise words from you. I was a bit late for the Sunday sermon, sorry, but I got here in the end!

      Ann

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana, so true are your words. I agree completely. Thank you for taking the time to read and leave such an on point comment.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ann your comments are always such a pleasure to receive and share, thank you. I love what you say about childhood. I was and am blessed to have had a good one and provide a good one for my children. Now where are those grandchildren? ;-) I fully enjoy approaching my God with a child like innocence, very little really goes wrong when I do.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 2 years ago

      My gosh Eric , you have covered the whole spectrum on this one , Faith ! I am always amazed at how little those who can't believe in god suffer from lack of understanding the real meaning of Faith ! They seek evidence or some scientific proof , How foolish they are . I have faith in my friend Eric showing up again next week ! There , I showed them didn't I !

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ed, I was amazed this morning when I read and reread your poetry. Look how many words I had to use to get my point across! You can do it in just a few short lines. I am jealous.

    • Sandra Eastman profile image

      Sandra Joy Eastman 2 years ago from Robbinsdale MN

      We would not be human if we did not have doubts. It is part of our nature that opens the door a little crack to peek at the other side and Satan slithers in the crack. Faith is always the most difficult when things go from bad to worse. The most difficult thing is when we find ourselves questioning God but at the same time knowing that He is in control. We will never completely understand Gods timing or why he allows bad things to happens. If we could know his reason he wouldn't be God.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 2 years ago from Nibiru

      very good read, faith, doubt, hope fear...all human attributes and will come up in the best of us.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, great sermon here! When we give people the impression that our faith was and is always strong, we discourage them from admitting to their doubts and fears; and we deceive ourselves. Thanks for this brave message, and thanks to God for putting it on your heart.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      It's very interesting. A great discussion of faith and doubt. Doubting should be reasonable. Doubt may arise due to lack of knowledge or due to some happenings. But you should clear your doubts immediately through knowledge and clarification from others.

      Thanks for sharing this great topic.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 2 years ago

      Hi Eric , your sermons like good poetry are always worthy of praise . I once read that to write a good poem all you have to do is pick one item , a tree , a cloud , an animal . You do that exactly ....... with an emotion ? doulbt , faith , happiness , .......It is your intentions that are the most worthy , you care deeply about others ! That's your poetry ! Keep it up my friend !

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Another wonderful Sunday sermon!

      It would be wrong if I say that I never doubt or I never lack in faith. Its normal and I am human.

      I question the God, his existence, if I am not successful, in spite of my best efforts. But I thank him, wholeheartedly when I am happy about something.

      Thank you for sharing this engaging hub!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Sandra, I like that about a snake slithering through the crack that comes from doubt. I can only speak for me, but that really is truth for me.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Right on Clive, I know it comes up in the worst of us ;-) Funny dichotomy is that it requires strong faith to admit doubt.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora thank you for coming by and leaving a note. You really summed up my intentions very well in just one great line. It does this old heart good to get feedback like that from a good friend.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Venkatachari how right you are about contacting and seeking clarification from others. I know that if I just talk to someone about it, it seems to fade away. Thank you

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ed you are too kind to this old scribe. I do truly intend and try to write with caring in mind. I hope it comes across because I truly do care.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Chitrangada, it is always so nice to hear from you. You leave the best upbeat comments. How true we forget so quickly when things go wrong. At least I do!

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      One of my favorite speakers recently said that we should doubt our doubts before we doubt our faith! There will always be a test of our faith, no matter who or what we are, there will be times when we have to step out into the darkness before the light illuminates our way.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      How true Denise. I think that as we grow older the doubts of faith subside, at least the little ones that pop up on a daily basis. I like to think that the big problems for me are quite easy for me to turn over, as serious contemplation always resolves doubt.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

      It´s true that everyone has doubts. Our faith can be shaken by suffering and difficult situations that come up in our lives. More Bible study and finding reasons for the suffering can bolster our faith.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Vespa, thank you for coming by and commenting, it is always good to hear from you. Staying in the word is for sure our best defense.

    • Joy56 profile image

      Joy56 2 years ago

      I ever doubt god is around, that he has a purpose, that he will keep his promises. I doubt myself only. Enjoyed the hub

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Joy certainly most doubt at all comes from self doubt. I have to work on that everyday, sometimes multiple times. Thank you for leaving a great comment.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      a wonderful sermon period.. Sunday ao whenever its read like today.. doubt is easy so we have it.. belief is difficult so worth having it.. love the sermon my friend :)

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Frank I always feel it an honor when you drop by and leave a note. You lift me up kind sir.

    • Joy56 profile image

      Joy56 2 years ago

      P.s. Will the sunnier days ever come ...... It is freezing here

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Sorry Joy, it is a little hot here today and over 85 degrees out here desert way. We keep the house closed up so it stays right at 72.

    • swilliams profile image

      Emunah La Paz 2 years ago from Arizona

      I love Kris and Willie Nelson, they sing from the heart. I love this article, keeping the faith fights against doubt. Great Hub Eric! Voted up & Tweeted Out!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you much Emunah it is always nice of you to drop by and be so supportive, it truly lifts me up.

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