Drowning in Doubt

Okay, Lord. I’m ready to step. I think. I just need you to confirm this is your will.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dialogued with God over the issue of doubting His will. In fact, the words above just appeared in my journal this morning.

I don’t believe I’m alone in that struggle. I’m pretty certain if you’ve sought to follow the Lord at all, at some point your heart has wrestled over that same question. We struggle in our ability to discern whether the desires prompting us to action stem from God’s will or flow from our own. Sometimes we get it right. Sometimes we don’t. Either way, God honors those who at least try.

That brings us back to our friend, Peter. Last week we looked at how his bold faith sent him over the edge of a boat and out onto the water. We also uncovered an important step he took beforehand that we often miss: he checked with Jesus for permission before he got out of the boat.

Unfortunately, Peter didn’t remain on the miraculous heights where he began. At Jesus’ Word, “Come,” Peter stepped out on the water and began to walk toward Jesus.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:30-31

My heart goes out to Peter, perhaps because God has been showing me so much of myself within his story. Maybe you can relate too.

I desperately want to experience everything God has for me. Don’t you? If I can help it, I don’t want to leave anything on the table that Jesus meant for me. I don’t want to be one of the disciples left standing in the boat wondering if that blessing could’ve been mine if only I’d had the courage Peter did.

Like, Peter, I expect great things of God, and when I believe I’ve heard His instruction, I will leap from the boat with both feet and start walking straight toward Jesus.

Unfortunately, our similarities don’t end there. Invariably, as I begin to step, waves start breaking at my feet and I grow unsteady. Wind rises up against me, and I find I have to fight to keep moving forward. My thoughts move from His promise to my view of my circumstances, and the doubt sets in. I begin to wonder if I heard Him right in the first place.

And with that shift in focus, I start to sink. What began as a bold adventure of faith marked by God’s miraculous provision transitions to a rescue mission. I find myself thrashing about, trying to keep my head above the surface of the water. And once again, Jesus must reach out his hand to catch me and lift me onto dry ground.

I’ve decided I’m tired of repeating the cycle. I’m tired of allowing doubt to rob me of the completion of Jesus’ blessings in my life.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful for Jesus’ mercy and His faithfulness to lift me out of the muck and head me back in the right direction, but why keep stopping our forward progress to back peddle because of my doubt?

Once again, I hear Jesus calling me out onto the water. I’m ready to step, and I know that He’ll be right there with me. But this time, I’m asking God to keep my eyes on Him and keep my ears tuned His promise.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

I am weak, but He is strong. I am fearful, but He is certain. I am broken, but He heals. I cannot keep myself above water, but Jesus can keep me so I do not sink.

God offers a promise in Jude 1:1 . . .

To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ . . .

And in verse 24 . . .

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—

Jesus is able to keep me from falling. I don’t need to keep stumbling backward. I just need to keep my eyes on Him, lifting the shield of faith against the doubt the enemy sends. With my focus securely on Jesus, I will not fall. He who promised is faithful.

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