We are called to trust in the one to whom we offer our prayers. We are not to trust in a particular outcome. We do not know what the future holds. We are not omniscient like our God. He sees the beginning and the ending of all things in our lives. James calls us to trust in the goodness of love of our God. Isaiah tells us that God will keep the one whose mind is anchored to God at perfect peace because that man trusts God. Those who let the trials and temptations of life shake their confidence in God’s love will not know peace. James tells us in Chapter 1, Verses 7 and 8, For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” The Law of non-contradiction tells us that A cannot be non-A at the same time. You cannot trust God and doubt God at the same time. No matter how a particular problem comes out, we will always be cast to and fro by the storms of life. One web blog says, “We cannot be both ‘certain’ and doubting, as is the double-minded person. One part of his mind is sure of something, while the other part doubts. It brings to mind the “pushmi-pullyu” of the Dr. Doolittle stories, an animal with a head at either end of its body and which was constantly trying to walk in two directions at once. Such is the double-minded man.”[1]

The double-minded man reminds me of a deer that got caught in my headlights. I was driving to Blair, Nebraska, from Omaha late one night, and a deer appeared ahead of me, just starting to cross the road from the right to the left. When he got to the middle of the road, he saw my headlights, changed his mind, and returned. When he left my headlights, he changed his mind again and went to cross the road again. Thankfully, I saw him far enough ahead of me, and there was no traffic, so I could slow down enough for him to finally get across the road safely. I can’t help but think that this is why we see so many dead deer on the side of the highways. Indecision is very dangerous. An agnostic author recently wrote a book called “The Divinity of Doubt.” He argues that doubt is a good thing. I know a man going through a serious trial in his life that took this book, vodka, and a gun to a hotel room and killed himself. Doubt is a very dangerous thing.

There’s more than one kind of doubt, though. Hardcore doubt rejects the existence of God. Adrian Rogers preaches on the cure for this kind of doubt. He says, “There’s a perfect cure for doubt. Do you know what it is? Time—time. There won’t be any atheists in hell. Atheists are going to hell, but there won’t be any atheists in hell. Jess Moody said, ‘Old atheists never die; they just go to hell.’ But they won’t be atheists when they get there. There’s a perfect cure for doubt, and it’s time.”[2] It’s not that radical doubt that bothers me. It’s the kind that sneaks up on you at times. All of a sudden, you realize that you’ve been harboring doubt. How do you handle that doubt? I often relate to the father who came to Jesus, requesting that Jesus come to his home and heal his son. Jesus asked him if he believed He could really heal the boy. The man said yes, and Jesus told him to go home, and he would find the exact outcome he believed he would find. I relate to the father’s answer. He fell on his knees and cried, “I believe! I believe! Please help my unbelief.” Adams has a good answer for handling this kind of doubt. He calls for repentance. He writes, “What is the solution to the problem of doubt? Unlike many today who laud doubt as philosophically sophisticated, James considers doubt a moral matter and calls for the repentance of those who are double-minded about God and His Word.”[3] James will also call for repentance for doubters in a later passage. James 4:8 says, “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

[1] Got Questions Ministries. 2002–2013. Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Rogers, Adrian. 2017. “The Man of God.” In Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive, 2 Ki 13:20–21. Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust.

[3] Adams, Jay E. 2020. “Doubt.” In The Practical Encyclopedia of Christian Counseling, 57. Cordova, TN: Institute for Nouthetic Studies.