God Is Always In Control
by James MacDonald
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
Christians don’t generally set out to doubt God. We don’t call our faith into question without reason. For most of us, life’s pain simply catches us off guard. We spiral fast when we’re left on our own to deal with doubts and questions that trap our reason in a downward vortex.
Someone has said that doubt is cancer of the soul. Like a wrecking ball against your house, doubt pounds away and damages the structure of the most important thing about you—what you believe about God.
However, if in times of doubt we take our questions directly to the Lord, then our faith increases. We can’t claim we won’t doubt; instead, we aim toward knowing what to do with doubts when they do come at us. The promises of God and His character can stand under the most microscopic scrutiny. Doubts should drive us back to God’s promises, not cause us to back away from Him! When you say, I don’t know exactly what God is doing, but I know He’s in control—that’s evidence you’re trusting Him. You don’t realize how much you need God’s promises until your smooth and easy life suddenly turns sideways. That is the time to dig into God’s Word and get something to wrap your faith around.
Doubt is a lack of confidence or assurance that God will keep His promises.
Faith is an active confidence that God’s promises are always true.
Conquer the wave of doubt
James 1:6 says we should pray with faith, or more specifically, we should pray without doubt. James must have remembered what it was like to sail during a time when ships were at the mercy of the winds and waves. He said, “the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” Unstable. Back and forth in a constant state of disruption. Ugh—makes me seasick. Doubt does that.
As recorded in the Gospels, it was between three and four o’clock in the morning when the disciples got caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Four or five of the twelve were experienced fisherman—they knew enough about the reputation of the lake to be terrified! The rest of the disciples took their cue from the experts. If a fisherman like Peter was scared, shouldnÕt they be? Just when the wind and the waves were taking them under, Jesus walked by—on the water! Crazy! Matthew 14:26 tells us that the disciples “cried out in fear.” Verses 27-28 continue, “But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.'”
Why do you doubt? He asked him. I’m right here.
And Peter said to him in Matthew 14:28. “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” I love this about Peter. He’s like, If Jesus says I can walk on water, I can. So Jesus said, “Come” And in response, “Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me'” (vv. 29-30).
Aw Peter! You were doing so good—what happened?
I’ll tell you what happened—he took his eyes off the Lord. Does that ever happen to you? When your eyes were on the Lord, life was good no matter what was going on around you. But the moment you got focused on the wind and waves, you started to sink.
How’s that going with you today? If you’re going under, I can guarantee it’s because you’ve been looking at the waves (like the pitch and roll of your retirement funds). You’ve been listening to the howling wind (like the constant voices of doom and gloom that are rampant in our society). You have been taking your cues from what others are saying or the way they are acting instead of keeping your mind stayed on Christ (Isaiah 26:3). I’ve certainly been there. I know how that uncertainty looks and sounds. We can do better!
Taken with permission from Always True, Moody, © 2011 by James MacDonald.