I have always been a planner; I like the control I have “knowing” what is going to happen. I am also a skeptical person. These two things about me make it a little hard to trust God at times. Heading into the unknown is not ideal, but I mean really is life supposed to be about comfort? Am I supposed to feel safe because I have faith in God? Should I feel guilty for doubting? All these questions… among others.
We all go through these moments of questions; we wouldn’t be human if didn’t ask questions. So many times I feel like we are told to just have faith and not to ask questions, but I don’t think that’s right. I’m one to ask lots of questions. I love learning and I do that by asking questions. The great thing is that God doesn’t look down at me and say, “What are you doing?! Why are you asking that question? Don’t you trust me? I can’t believe you Camilla! Just have faith!” He’s my perfect Father, he loves me, he wants me to understand, and grow, so he welcomes my questions. He says, “Ok let’s do this, we can work with this.”
So many times doubt is associated with lack of faith, but it’s human to doubt, sometimes it’s hard to believe 100% without any doubts that God is going to come through. We are allowed to feel uncertain about things. God sees what is ahead of me; I can only see the next step. (Psalm 119:105) This verse has lost so much meaning with technological advancements (my phone has a stronger light than five candles.) When it speaks of God’s word being a lamp it is not talking about the lamps we have today, ones that light up whole rooms, but it is talking about a much weaker light that only illuminates enough for you to see the next step. God wants us to rely on him and sometimes we will be uncertain and feel doubt, but that doesn’t mean we lack faith. You have great faith if you simply take the step.
For a while this verse has confused me because of that word doubt. What does that mean, have no doubt? In (Matthew 17:20) Jesus tells his disciples that all that is needed is the faith of a mustard seed. It isn’t necessary for us to have this ginormous that is immovable. No, he says all that is necessary is to have at the least a small, fragile faith, like that of the mustard seed. But the point is that the mustard seed doesn’t stay a seed. It grows.
I was so worried when I first read Mark 11:23 because I thought that if I doubted then the “mountains” that I came up against wouldn’t move. Now if I let the doubts that I have sit in me and grow then my faith will grow sick and weaken. But that doesn’t mean that I am lacking in faith. I know that God is able, that whatever is impossible for man is possible for God. If I let doubt reside in my heart then do I have faith in God? But if I constantly remind myself through my uncertainty who God is then there is no room for doubt to reside in my heart. The verse before just says, “have faith in God.”
(Hebrews 11) is known as the faith chapter. It discusses all the heroes of faith and what they did. I sometimes put these people on pedestals and think of them as having this great unshakeable faith, but they were human, they most certainly had doubts, probably more so than me because they didn’t have the Bible to remind them of God’s faithfulness. It can be intimidating to read the accounts of all these people because we aren’t told what they were thinking. But every single one of these people, at some point, had doubts and questioned God, but the thing that they continued to do was follow God (not always in the most perfect way.) God loves us and doesn’t want us to feel guilty for doubting, but he wants us to, through our doubt, look up to him and keep walking. Not the easiest of things to live out.
In (Mark 9:14-24) Jesus is confronted by a father whose son is possessed by a demon. I want to focus on verses 22-24. The father appeals to Jesus to have mercy on them and help them… if Jesus can. Now all this in contrast to the woman who simply touched the cloak of Jesus expecting (and receiving) healing (Mark 5:25-34), of course Jesus could! And Jesus basically calls the father out on saying that, but another thing that Jesus does is he exposes the root behind the statement of the father. I’m sure the man had at least heard rumours of Jesus healing people and casting out demons etc., but it all sounds too good to be true. The father could have had some skepticism about whether Jesus could really help. I love what the father’s response to Jesus is. “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief.” Sometimes we need simply lift our hands and say, “God I believe in who you are, I believe that you able and faithful, but help me overcome my uncertainties and unbelief.”
God is going to lead me into places that are not always in my zone of comfort and I will have uncertainties sometimes, but I don’t need to feel guilty about that. All I have to do is look up and take one step – then another. Not letting my doubts hinder me, but have them push me closer to God. I want the seed to grow into a strong tree and not stay in the ground.
So Jesus when I say I believe, but… Help me lose the but.