There I was — stuck. Confused. I believed in Jesus. I trusted His Word (kinda), and I prayed. But at some point or another and to some degree, there were always elements of doubt, worry, and fear within. This made me question my faith.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see . . . And without faith it is impossible to please God . . . ” (Hebrews 11:1 & 6a)
I wonder if this snippet transcript of my internal dialogue resonates with any of you:
“What if I fail?”
“What if this doesn’t work?”
“‘Don’t pray if you’re going to worry’ — well I guess I won’t be praying!”
“‘God has not given me a spirit of fear.’ . . . never mind who gave it to me . . . it’s here!”
I remember my Sunday School teacher encouraging us to be faithful with these words: “Do it with your knees knocking.” “Do it with tears rolling down your face.” “Do it scared.” “Do it.” In other words, our faith is not measured by our feelings; it’s indicated by our obedience. Whew!! Talk about relief!!
In Hebrews 11, we read that by faith Noah built . . . , by faith Abraham went . . . , by faith Isaac blessed . . . , by faith Jacob spoke . . . , by faith Moses left . . . , and by faith Rahab welcomed . . . . They exhibited their faith by doing what God called them to do. It was more about their feet than their minds.
Being faithful means that I find out what God has to say about a matter and act accordingly.
If doubt floods my mind through the entire journey, it’s ok. By faith walk the journey anyway. If I’m worried about the outcome, that’s honest. By faith show up, anyway. If I am scared all along the way, so be it. By faith be on your way anyway.
We don’t need more faith. A mustard seed will do. We need to look more closely at the object of our faith. Is it Christ? Or ourselves? When I make myself the object of my faith I am, in those moments, trying to calculate how it will work out, trying to see it, feel it, and recall the last time I saw something like this “work.” And if I can’t conjure up those elements, o boy, do we have a mental catastrophe on our hands! When I make Christ the object of my faith, I am, instead, choosing to take Him at his Word: “[I] can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” And I choose to move forward, eyes on Him, believing that the doubt, worry, and fear will soon give way through my act of faith.
If you ever want to assess your faith, don’t look at the tears, your palpating heart, or your doubtful thoughts. Don’t tally up all the times you considered quitting, the days you thought about employing worldly measures, or the times you questioned God’s ability or your own. If you truly want to assess your faith, count the number of steps you took towards God. How many applications did you fill out anyway? How many job interviews did you show up for anyway? How many chemo-treatments did you sit through even though you feared for your life? How long have you held out filing for that divorce, even though this is not what you had in mind when you said “I do”? How many times have you said “no” with your mouth even though your flesh surely wanted to say “yes”?
When God told you to stay, you stayed. When God told you to go, you left. When He said wait, you waited. That’s what it means to be faithful. You perhaps continued to desire the exact opposite of God’s will, but instead of yielding to your feelings, you moved forward with your knees knocking, tears rolling, or heart racing and came out less doubtful, less worried, less fearful, AND more faithful! You go girl!
p.s. For those of you thinking “ummm . . . what if God said stay, and I left? God said leave and I stayed. He said wait and I got impatient.” If you are thinking that, then you are still alive. If you are still alive, you have another grace-filled day which means another chance to be faithful! See . . . problem solved! So tell doubt, worry, and fear that they either leave you alone or come along because this Faithful One is moving forward in obedience with or without them!