"A Journey Shared Part 5 - "My Big Challenge."

Here's one of the big battles I am facing - 'doubt'!

Peter sees Jesus walking on the water. Jesus encourages him to get out of the boat and walk to Him.
He does so. For the first few steps all is well. Suddenly Peter starts to sink! - Jesus takes his hand and says.."Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matthew 8:31).

Those two words 'doubt' and 'faith' have been, and remain, a challenge to many Christians.
And I must admit to being one of those right now.

'Doubt' even puts some people off asking God for certain things in prayer. They doubt. So they would rather keep quiet and not ask.

The first thing to understand when making prayer requests is that we will not always get the answer that we want or in the time we want it. All prayer requests should come with that proviso (as did Jesus' before he was arrested) .."Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done." (Luke 22:42)

What is it that puts 'doubt' in our mind?

I have no doubt that Screwtape (apologies to CS Lewis)  is one of the reasons.
"How can you  pray for this. Surely it cannot happen?" he whispers ..and we put that prayer aside. Screwtape is delighted! Why? Because it says in the Bible  that if we do not ask we will not receive: (James 4:2) ......"You do not have because you do not ask God."
Screwtape loves it when a believer doubts. 
When a believer doubts God cannot work any wonders on him/her.
Because for God to answer prayer we need to have the faith to ask.
The faith that Jesus refers to thus: 
“Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew17:20)

So we have this paradox (may I call it that?)...if we don't have 'enough faith' our prayers will not be answered. 
But not having 'enough faith' implies that we have 'doubt'.

It seems that I am not the first 'believer' to be confronted with this problem.
Long before there were Christians we had Abraham and Sarah doubting the word of God when He promised them that Sarah would have a child!
Peter's faith was overtaken by doubt when he walked on the water.
And then we have that well known story of Thomas who needed to actually touch Jesus' wounds to be convinced.

(Those are only three of many examples throughout the Bible).

To help us understand this a little more we need to understand 'faith', as taught in the Scriptures: "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)

None of us have ever seen God or Jesus.
Peter and Thomas actually saw Jesus - and still had some doubt.
How much more difficult those of us living some 2 000 years later?

This is the faith God wants us to have. As in "You haven't seen me. Believe my Word. And to have complete faith in me will remove all doubt in what I can do for you".

The more 'faith' we have the less 'doubt' we will be faced with.
It doesn't seem much when we see the size of a mustard seed. 
Faith the size of a Mustard Seed

In researching this dilemma this is probably one of the best starts I have seen to addressing it:
"Doubt is not unbelief. Again, doubt is the bridge that connects current faith to perfect faith. And that bridge will stand until our death or Christ’s return. When we go through a faith crisis, though, we don’t naturally see things this way. Once doubt enters and infects our lives on a conscious level, we may interpret it as outright unbelief. We simply don’t know how else to process it. We think we’re on an inevitable road to complete unbelief.
Unfortunately, since we think this way, and since others may treat us as if we have the plague, we begin to live as unbelievers. If sin were not the instigating problem before, it becomes the chronic problem now. It’s important for those struggling with doubt to not let their doubt influence their lives such that they start living like unbelievers. Encourage doubters to continue to live as Christians, repenting and believing the gospel, even if they don’t always feel like Christians." (Michael Patton)
No doubt the best answer lies in prayer, asking forgiveness and repenting of our sins and believing what we read in the Gospel. We must not be tempted - and when we are we need to ask for the protection of the Holy Spirit. 
Suffice to say if you lack faith and doubt is creeping in it would seem we are not alone.
Not only are you not alone but it seems a problem best admitted and confronted. 

My apologies if I haven't provided a definitive answer to the question..but it is enough to get the thought process going. And when I do have more clarity I will publish it - I suspect it might just have
something to do with those things we do not understand and are better handled with prayer and trusting the Holy Spirit. 
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God." (Romans 8: 26 - 27)

(Should anyone reading this have had the same experience please feel free to share in the reply section available. It would be wonderful to hear from one or two people.)


Popular posts from this blog

"A Journey Shared Part 7 - "More Musings on Prayer".

"A Journey Shared - Part 1. Introduction"

"A Journey Shared - Part 3 "Free Will - Choose Your Path Wisely".