Drowning in doubt
Can we get a little more personal today? To tell you the truth, I need to…
There are times in my life, and I suspect yours as well, when I begin to question certain things in my faith. But doing so makes my heart feel so heavy! It is as though my moments of doubt drag me down into depths that I cannot quickly climb up from. In my soul, I know the truths, I know the right answers, I know the Scriptures, but those waves of doubt start to roll over my head, and I feel myself sinking – sinking down into a deep point of despair, and slowly drowning.
As I write this, the apostle Peter and his moment of doubt rises to mind.
“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.
“Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.
‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’
‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came 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?’
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.'”
Reading Peter’s story gives us a better perspective of what our moments of lacking faith do. They literally cause us to sink, both emotionally and spiritually.
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind”
If you are experiencing this right now, as I am swimming in the waters too, let’s agree to not allow those waves of doubt to overcome us. Let’s keep our eyes focused on Jesus, who is looking directly back at each of us, encouraging us to trust Him and His word. He is our greatest encourager, our coach, and our dearest friend. He is right there, alongside us. Just keep swimming… or, if your faith is stronger now, start walking on that water!
“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul…”
“Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’
Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.‘
Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’
Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'”
Food for thought: Our doubt doesn’t stop God from his plan. It only causes us unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Fun(?) facts: The song “It is well with my Soul” is a well-known christian song. The story behind its writing is very heartbreaking, but also inspiring. Horatio Spafford, a prominent attorney, was married and had 5 children. His four-year-old son had died of scarlet fever. Two years later, he sent his wife and 4 daughters to Europe for a vacation and he was going to join them shortly thereafter. During the women’s voyage, their ship sank, with all four of his daughters drowning. His wife survived. Horatio penned this song on his journey to Europe as his ship went over the same spot his daughters had died.
Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Oil painting: Wave billows roll