Dealing with Doubt -Remember What God Has Done

From the archives of The Encourager, vol. 8 No:2, Spring 2002

by Outreach Of Hope
On his way to the airport to fly to Washington, D.C. to meet with yet another medical specialist, Outreach of Hope volunteer Wayne DeReu stopped by the office. His face told the story. During the three years he had battled an extremely rare form of cancer, Wayne had seen scores of medical professionals. He was not encouraged by the prospect of traveling halfway across the country to meet yet another specialist who offered little promise of relief. He was disappointed about the possibility of facing surgery and treatment so far away from his immediate family and friends. With little physical reason to hope for a good outcome, we prayed fervently for God to reveal Himself to Wayne and his wife Sally during their time away.

Talks with Wayne during those weeks were difficult. He was in tremendous pain. He and Sally had to deal with the emotional roller coaster of surgeries, the discovery of more tumors, and an uncertain future-all without the familiar comforts of home. As their planned two-week stay dragged on for more than two months, our calls often ended in prayer and tears. Although Wayne and Sally never voiced doubt in God’s love or provision, their faith was stretched.

After he had returned home, Wayne shared about how God had revealed Himself throughout his long medical ordeal, particularly the time in Washington, D.C. When my original doctor, one of very few who has experience in treating my kind of cancer, was deployed,” he explained, “I thought the trip was a waste. But within the hour we were referred to a medical team that had worked extensively on my type of cancer. Never before had we found anyone with their credentials and skill. This turn of events amazed us. We also received help and blessings from friends and acquaintances who we never imagined would come alongside us. The way in which we were provided with places to stay, meals to eat, cars to borrow, and visits from dozens of sincere friends all served to show me that this was more than mere coincidence. Someone was directing all this toward us.”

Those trying, difficult days in Washington, D.C. have had a lasting impact. “My experience has given me the ability to trust God far more than I could before,” Wayne says. A retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, Wayne admits he has always been a “control person.” “But I’m coming to realize that God is in control more than I ever imagined. Because I’ve seen how in control He really is, my faith and trust in Him grows every day, even though it’s hard not knowing what’s going to happen next. I am more able to accept things, even difficult things, because I can see God’s faithfulness throughout the whole ordeal. Because God has been faithful in the past, I trust that He will be faithful in the future.”

Maintaining that perspective when we are blinded by pain, when we don’t see God’s provision, when we don’t feel His presence is a challenge. Pain’s unrelenting presence forces us to live in the moment. Like blinders on a horse, pain’s narrow, unpleasant perspective shields us from seeing God’s faithfulness in the past or His promises for the future. Pain can even blind us to God’s present expressions of love, leading us to think He is not only invisible, but uninvolved.

What Wayne has learned in hindsight offers real encouragement to anyone who struggles with pain and wrestles with doubt. As he looks back on the difficult days of the past, he remembers God’s faithfulness and thereby gains hope for the future. Remembering God’s faithfulness in order to deal with our present challenges is a time-tested technique. In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, as the Israelites stood ready to enter the Promised Land, Moses knew they would face difficult days ahead. He would not be there to lead them, so 16 times he told them to “remember” what God had done for them in the desert.

When the pain of our immediate trial blinds us to God’s presence, when our faith is shaken, we, like the children of Israel, can remember and cling to God’s faithfulness. Like Wayne, we can be assured that one day, perhaps even during our lifetime, we will look back and see clearly how God’s hand carried us through our present trial.”