Life’s difficulties often lead to spiritual doubt. Like Hamlet, some endure the temptation to simply “not be” and to shuffle “off this mortal coil.” Why not just end this pain-filled, unfair life? Here was Hamlet’s struggle:
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin?
He wonders whether it wouldn’t be better “to die: to sleep…and by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache…” Is it nobler to endure the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” when one has the option of terminating his life now (“When he himself might his quietus make with a bare bodkin?” – a naked blade)?
No doubt, doubt causes us to question everything about ourselves, God, and this life.
How can we battle doubt and disbelief?
We should hold some core beliefs based on God’s word, allowing the Holy Spirit to fill and guide us. This flighty, subjective, anchorless world constantly tells us there is no such spiritual anchor, no absolute spiritual truth. But does that not fill a person with doubts and leave her directionless? Steadfast faith in God is based first of all upon a knowledge that God IS and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11.6). We must believe Jesus Christ is God’s Son (1 Jn. 5.5), and that His word is inspired, final, and infallible. In no other way can one be saved except through Jesus Christ (Acts 4.12; Jn. 14.6), by God’s grace, and through faith (Eph. 2.8-9). Hang on to the fact that God has promised eternal life to His faithful ones (1 Jn. 2.25), and you have already passed from death into life (1 Jn. 3.13; Jn. 5.24). These core beliefs provide anchors for the soul.
Where do all these core beliefs derive? From Scripture! I firmly believe the least confident Christians are the least studied. Wasting our days, we often fail to spend sufficient time in God’s word, and we end up weak, wandering, and wondering how we have such little faith. Luke wrote his gospel and the book of Acts in order to inspire faith in the reader (Lk. 1.1-4). John recorded those great works and teachings of Jesus “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believeing you may have life in His name” (Jn. 20.31). Paul wrote in Rom. 10.17, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” The spiritual formula goes as follows:
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Eph. 1.13-14)
Did you follow the stages in that verse? It all begins with HEARING the gospel, which leads to TRUST and BELIEF in God, which is connected with the SEALING of the Holy Spirit, and it all ends up in DOXOLOGY, praising God, giving Him glory!
So if you want to battle doubt and disbelief in your life, pick up that Bible of yours and get in it, devour it, let it speak into your life and build your faith. That’s the purpose of God’s word. Saturate yourself in God’s promises and purposes, and you will find the direction you desire.