The Wilderness of Doubt

 Maybe every missionary faces it, I’m not sure. Or, maybe, the more terrifying conclusion to my own personal narcissism is that I am just like “every missionary.”
It’s funny how doubt seeps into the day to day. Doubt is a leaky faucet. In the noise of work and disciple-making it can’t be heard. But, when you lay your head down to rest it all starts *drip*……….. *drip*……… *drip*.
Maybe you’ve been there. Making a HUGE, life-altering decision, and wondering weeks or months later if it was the wrong one. A decision that, at the time seemed so certain. Maybe you imagined yourself, as I did, like the person who has built your decision on the rock, only to later feel like you are surrounded by sinking sand.
The comical aspect of decision-making is that, as humans, we only begin to question them when things don’t “feel right.” We have this abstract sense of how the future is going to feel, and when the future doesn’t match that abstract feeling, we panic.
“This isn’t what I had in mind…” “It was supposed to go differently.”
For me, dealing with doubt, has come down to recognizing whose voice is speaking. There are generally three options, the enemy, my own voice, or God. Based on a myriad of theological reasons, my steady conclusion is that the voice of doubt is almost always my own.
I love control. Admit it, you do too.
I have a vision for how things should go. I want to see things happen just the way that I imagine them. God grants me opportunities, daily, to join His work, but I often miss them for blindly following my own meager vision of how it should happen. And really, the difference between God’s plans and my plans are like crumbs versus a royal feast. But, I keep picking up the crumbs, because I think the crumbs are the way to go.
When I go through an entire day and I didn’t seem to find the crumbs, my little vision, I panic. I begin to doubt. “Why am I here?” “What am I really accomplishing?” As if, in some cosmic sense, God is just so blessed by the presence of my paltry vision, and can’t figure out how to go about things on His own.
My voice of doubt has little to do with God’s plan, God’s vision, God’s purpose, and has everything to do with my inability to even execute my tiny, little, crumb-like vision.
But, the beauty of it is this. It is in that moment of desperation and doubt that each of us are invited to God’s table. You and I both have the freedom to leave the doubt and the crumbs behind, and pull up a chair to the feast at God’s table. He’s the one preparing it. Stop looking for the crumbs. Stop fueling your own self-doubt at your own un-realized vision. Rest in the arms of your sovereign creator and sustainer. Believe it or not, He knows what He’s doing.


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