The grace and mercy of God is at work in our lives to bring us from doubt to strong faith. It is a journey – the trial of our faith, (1 Peter 4:12-13). God’s grace to us is such in our lives that even when our believing is wrong, He does not deal with us as we deserve. He woos us, in His mercy, and His grace comes to us to teach us the right way.
Consider the record of Lazarus of Bethany in John 11. His family and friends were grieving over his sudden death when Jesus arrived on the scene, four days after Lazarus had died. Mary, verse 32, wept as she said to Jesus, “….Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” She did not understand that Jesus had the whole matter in His capable hands, for the glory of God. He said to Martha, (the other sister of Lazarus), before He raised Lazarus from the grave, verse 40: “Did I not say to you, that if you would believe, you should see the glory of God?” Even though Martha’s believing was wrong, Jesus’ mercy and grace were demonstrated, to the glory of God, as He called Lazarus from the grave. At the command of Jesus, Lazarus was raised from the dead. He came forth, wrapped in all his grave clothes. Jesus gave a further command to loose him and let him go.
What was the purpose in Jesus’ delay at the scene of Lazarus’ death if it was not to reveal the unbelief in Mary? But her unbelief did not prevent the glory of God manifesting in her brother’s resurrection. The mercy of God meets us where we are in our doubting, to move us on to strong faith in Him. His faithful testimonies in our lives provide a sure foundation for us to build our future faith upon.
So then, great faith is not the absence of doubt. Doubt is part of the process, the journey that God is wooing us from as He teaches us to trust Him more as His testimonies become established in our lives.
Abraham, (who is called the father of faith), must have been in unbelief when he produced Ishmael, (Genesis 18-21). Like Abraham, we too, can become impatient in the waiting period and produce our own “Ishmaels” through self effort. The waiting period is the trial of our faith. Eventually, Abraham came to strong faith in the Lord through his trials. Romans 4:20-21, Paul wrote of Abraham, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what God had promised, He was able to perform.” Like Abraham, we too, are on a journey from unbelief to strong faith, as the Holy Spirit is bringing us to the point of being “fully persuaded”. Abraham had a “fit of the staggers” when he produced Ishmael in unbelief. Our unbelief will do just that – produce a fit of the staggers! But, like Abraham, our faithful God will bring us through if we obey His voice, and the above scripture, verses 20-21 will become our testimony, too.
When I place my security in the things of this earth, my faith and trust in God is absent. Fathoming the depth feeds my doubt, I am “eating” from the wrong source. I need to “eat” from the Tree of Life. God wants me out of my depth in Him, abandoned, in faith, to Him and the resources from His hand. Thank God that He uses the things on this earth to bless us, but we must never trust in them. He is the only security we can have that will never fail.
Matthew 14:24-33 At Jesus’ bidding, Peter stepped out of a boat on a stormy sea to walk on water, just as Jesus was doing. Peter walked on water until he saw the boisterous wind. As he took his eyes off Jesus and registered the stormy sea, Peter was filled with fear and began to sink. Fear defeats everything God wants for us and we must learn to deal with it:
Fear is always built on a lie. Deal with the lie and fear will die. Deal with the fear and fear stays near! Fear paralyses and convinces us that lies are truth. Fear confuses, and confusion is not of God. The devil is the author of confusion and fear is the environment he thrives in.
Fear is the opposite of faith and produces unbelief. God calls it “an evil heart of unbelief.” If we refuse to deal with it under the light of the Holy Spirit, it will keep us out of the “Promised Land”….just like the erring children of Israel. God loves us. He desires to bless and prosper us in Him. He is able to do super-abundantly, above all we may ask or think:
Ephesians 3:19-20 “…And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” This is the heart of our loving God for His children. Let us take His hand as He guides us on our journey from unbelief to strong faith, all for His glory. By faith, we too, will not stagger at the promises of God!