Thursday thoughts: Stop doubting, have a little hope


I don’t know about your household but since it’s summer the talk is all about swimming and pools at my house. Unfortunately, we do not have a subdivision pool, which has been VERY disappointing to the four little girls living with us.

They beg every day for someone in our house to call somebody, anybody, that we might know that has a pool to invite ourselves over to swim. I think that’s called imposing, but then again, I’m not sure they even think of that. They have looked up and sent so many pictures and links to Wayne begging him to buy an above- or an in-ground pool. That’s not working either as it’s a little over our budget allotment. They also keep score on which sister has been to a pool the most (isn’t summer fun?).

My son lives in a subdivision with a pool although it’s about a 30-minute drive from my house. On the first Friday when his kids were out of school, he and his wife still had to work so they asked if I could come and stay with the kids. He said I could take them to the pool and I could bring the girls from my house to swim as well. Only the two youngest, Liza and Lottie, were at home. Unfortunately, Lottie had strep so she was not able to go, but Liza could

To say this did not go over very well is an understatement. According to Lottie, it wasn’t fair. She insisted she could go, and it would be fine. It didn’t help that Liza told her “life isn’t fair.” I hate to admit that Liza may have heard this phrase a time or two herself, from an adult, in our house.  Anyway, we did go to the pool and Lottie stayed home.

It reminded me of another instance that happened last summer with Liza. I had a friend invite me over one day and said the girls could come and swim at her subdivision pool. Liza had a horrible bacterial infection in her leg. We all knew she wasn’t going to be able to swim so we started preparing her the day before. She insisted it was going to look better. She was positive that she would be able to swim. We kept reminding her of the instructions the doctor had given to keep it dry and clean. She still said it would be better.

On the morning we were to go swimming, the discussion started again. I proceeded to try and explain again why she could not go swimming. Finally, she was frustrated with all of us trying to talk to her and said, “Can’t you people stop having doubts! I mean you have to have hope.” Of course, we were somewhat amused by her remark since it was about having hope to swim from a nine-year-old's perspective.

The more I have thought about this, though, the more God convicted me of some things in my life. One of the definitions of doubt is “to lack confidence in, distrust or to consider unlikely.” I felt like God was asking me, "How many times have you doubted Me, Jill?"

I would never actually say I doubt God, however in reality my actions at times say that exact thing. When I take matters into my own hands, it is really saying I doubt God can handle the situation, so I need to. As I type this I think how utterly ridiculous I am.

If it had been me in the lion's den instead of Daniel, would I trust myself and doubt God? I would definitely not be the one to trust!

If it had been me who was standing at the Red Sea instead of Moses, would I think I could part the water because I doubted God could? Without question it would be God I would trust!

If it was me trying to battle against Goliath instead of David, would I trust myself and doubt God? I am sure you know the answer.

If I think about it, there are many people in the Bible who did doubt God at times. Adam, Eve, Sarah, Moses, Thomas, and the list goes on and on. I do think because we are human we naturally have doubts at times. But I also think biblical hope is built on faith.

In Hebrews 11:1 it says “Faith is confidence in what we hope for.” Hope must involve something that is for now unseen. I mean think about it, who hopes for something they already have? I think doubt comes from our feelings and hope comes from our faith in the promises and knowledge of God. Feelings can disappoint us, but hope does not disappoint when it is based on the reality of who God is and is anchored in His promises. Romans 5:5 says “ And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”

God doesn’t want me to doubt Him in any situation. He wants me to have hope because of my faith in HIM. When I do have hope because of my faith it frees me from my feelings of doubt. My hope is in the LORD and only the Lord.

I’m sure you are wondering if my granddaughter went to the pool that day. Well, she didn’t. We did what was best for her by not allowing her to go. Just like at times, things don’t work out the way we think they should because maybe, just maybe, it’s due to God knowing what is best for us.

Did my granddaughter lose hope because she didn’t go to the pool? Goodness, no! She totally started looking forward to the next time she could go to the pool. She still had hope that a trip to the pool was in her future and faith that we would get her there.

Doubt should never negate our hope. We should never be without hope. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have hope than doubts. I am pretty sure my granddaughter taught me a lesson that day. I can’t help but be reminded of Romans 15:13 which says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Our faith will bring joy and peace if our hope is in the right place. My faith tells me that my hope should only be in God. I pray my grandchildren will learn to place their hope in God who will fill them with joy and peace as they trust in Him. And, as a side note, if you want to ask them to your pool this summer I’m sure they would happily accept!


Jill Johnson, a staff member at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, finds spiritual applications in her everyday experiences as a wife, mother, grandmother and Georgian. She is available to speak to your church's women's gatherings. Reach her at