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5 Biblical Ancestors Who Overcame Doubt and Fear

Young woman sitting against a brick wall with her hands over her face.  She is experiencing fear and doubt.

By Barbara Latta

Doubt about our abilities and fear of the future can seep into our souls bit by bit like air seeps through cracks under doors and windows. 

Doubt and fear here and there sneak in until those cold waves of discouragement overwhelm us. 

We may set goals, but mental pictures of previous failures prevent us from pursuing the finish line.

We may read promises in the Bible, but doubt or fear blocks us from believing them about our current aspirations.  

Doubt and fear are mental pictures painted to us by our past, other people’s words, or by comparing ourselves to another person’s success.

The Bible gives us multiple examples of saints who struggled with doubt and fear, yet they went on to live out God’s purpose for their lives. 

How did they overcome the negative emotions that lied to their soul? 

The Lord produced a new mental vision to show them how to fulfill His assignment. 

These five examples show us how we can use the same strategies.

These five biblical examples show us how we can overcome doubt and fear and live in victory. Click to Tweet
Young woman standing outside under a clear blue sky with her hands folded in prayer looking up at the sun.  She is feeling faithful int he face of doubt and fear.

Joseph’s Faithfulness in the Face of Doubt and Fear

God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction. – Genesis 41:52b HCSB

Joseph dreamed that his brother’s sheaves of grain bowed to his own sheaf. 

In another dream the sun, moon and eleven stars prostrated before him. 

These visions caused more persecution from his jealous brothers, and he was sold into slavery because of their envy. 

Yet when his brothers traveled to Egypt to buy food and bowed down to Joseph, those dreams were fulfilled. 

Joseph stayed faithful to God because of the images planted into his mind years before.

The Lord’s vision for Joseph’s life sustained him through prison, false accusations, and separation from his homeland. 

Joseph succeeded in Egypt because of his covenant with God and this surely gave him strength when he thought he had been forgotten.

Joseph’s story helps us remember our spiritual heritage. 

Persecution or difficult times can infiltrate our minds with doubt, and we may fear that God will forget to give us the inheritance we have been promised (Eph 1:11).

But when we stay faithful to God because of His promises to us, we can overcome doubt and fear.

Joseph’s story helps us remember our spiritual heritage. Click to Tweet
Young woman standing in a field facing the mountains in the distance.  She is contemplating God's will for her life.

Abraham’s Desires and God’s Will

He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “Your offspring will be that numerous.” – Genesis 15:5 HCSB

This Old Testament saint was 75 years old when God promised he and Sarah would have a son.

Surely a child had been a desire of their hearts for a long time. 

But their aged bodies tempted them to doubt and fear their future legacy.

God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which means “father of a multitude.” 

He took Abram outside and showed him the stars of the sky, comparing their number to his future offspring. 

In Genesis 22:17 the Lord also gave Abram the image of the sand on the seashore. 

Abraham and Sarah lived a nomadic life, dwelling in tents.

At night they saw the stars sparkle, reminding them of God’s promise. 

During the day, they walked in the dust and the tiny granules from the desert reminded them of their future descendants. 

Their vision came to pass with the birth of Isaac.

Like Abraham, we can pray for our desires to align with God’s will (Ps 37:4). 

We should pray about our goals and dreams to ensure they line up with God’s will and are not just selfish aspirations. 

The Lord gave Abraham and Sarah the desire for the son He would use to bless the world. 

When our prayers are for the desires of our hearts to be aligned with God’s will, we can overcome our doubts and fears.

Like Abraham, we can pray for our desires to align with God’s will. Click to Tweet
Woman sitting looking to the side. She has her hands crossed over her legs.  She is seeking victory over her doubt and fear.

Gideon’s Victory Over Doubt and Fear 

“But I will be with you,” the Lord said to him. “You will strike Midian down as if it were one man.” – Judges 6:16 HCSB

Gideon saw himself as the least of his father’s house and his clan the weakest in all Israel.

He hid from the Midianites in a winepress, cowering in doubt and fear. 

Gideon saw weakness in himself where God saw a mighty man of valor. 

Because Gideon’s vision of himself changed, he led Israel to a victory even though they were severely outnumbered. 

Even though Gideon thought God had forsaken Israel, he remembered the miracles of Egypt. 

Faith strengthened him against the enemy.

Gideon’s story reminds us to rehearse past victories and celebrate future ones (1 Jn. 5:4)

Journaling is a wonderful way to record answers to prayer and God’s power in our lives. 

When we read what the Lord has already done, our faith can be renewed.

Gideon’s story reminds us to rehearse past victories and celebrate future ones. Click to Tweet
Woman sitting at a table with a coffee cup of coffee and a Bible open on the table.  She has her eyes closed and her hands folded in prayer.

Elijah’s Doubt and Fear After Boldness 

But I will leave 7,000 in Israel—every knee that has not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him. – 1 Kings 19:18 HCSB

This bold prophet participated in the destruction of hundreds of priests and prophets of Baal.

He watched fire from heaven lap up a sacrifice on an altar covered in water. 

But a short time later he wanted to die because words from Jezebel created a fearful image of death in his mind. 

Elijah whined that he was the only prophet left in Israel. 

God changed his picture of loneliness and self-pity. 

We will believe what we listen to the most (Rom 10:17a).

Faith can grow toward negative words too. 

Elijah listened to Jezebel’s words when he should have only listened to his Lord.

We can read God’s Word consistently to overcome doubt and fear.  

We can read God’s Word consistently to overcome doubt and fear. Click to Tweet

John the Baptist’s Renewed Hope 

Jesus replied to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind see, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news. And if anyone is not offended because of Me, he is blessed.” – Matthew 11:4-6 HCSB

John preached in the desert and called people to repentance. 

His fiery message and courageous stand drew crowds to the Lord but also the ire of Herod Antipas. 

Herod arrested John and some scholars believe he was in prison for at least six months. 

Day after day darkness, loneliness, threats, doubt and fear weighed him down.  

John sent some of his followers to ask Jesus if He was really the Messiah. 

John’s disciples took Jesus’ words, based on Isaiah 35:5-6, back to John.

This renewed to him the hope of the Messiah’s fulfillment of prophecy.

When we have doubt and fear, we can ask mature believers to stand with us. 

We are given the gift of Christian fellowship for support and encouragement. 

John’s disciples encouraged him with the words from Jesus.

In the same way, we can help others overcome their doubt and fear by sharing Jesus’ words with them (Rom 15:4).

When we have doubt and fear, we can ask mature believers to stand with us. Click to Tweet
Woman sitting on a bed cross-legged holding a coffee with a BIble opened in front of her.  She is seeking inspiration from her biblical ancestors.

Inspiration from 5 Biblical Ancestors

Our biblical ancestors show us how to agree with our Creator’s vision for a successful spiritual life through these five strategies.

Even saints who were strong in their beliefs also had periods of doubt and fear.

We have the same spiritual enemy and the same type of mental attacks they did.

But we also have the same mighty Savior who transformed their imaginations through His promises. 

When we focus on our Sovereign’s vision for our lives instead of what doubt and fear tell us, we can fulfill the assignment He gives us too. 

— Barbara Latta

Barbara Latta writes devotions, articles, and Bible studies for online and print publications as well as a monthly column in her local newspaper. She shares as a Titus 2 woman on her blog to encourage older women and mentor the younger generation on the rocky road of life. Barbara enjoys sharing motorcycle rides with her Harley prince and is the author of God’s Maps: Stories of Inspiration and Direction for Motorcycle Riders, where she shares spiritual insights from their adventures. Her joy in life is being a wife and mother of two grown sons, and Mimi to her granddaughter. Follow Barbara on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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