January 4, 2009
Doubt: the great enemy of Faith
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.(James 1: 2-8)
Tonight is a weird night. I can't say I've ever experienced anything like it before. In reality, though, the last few months have been strange months. The best way I can describe what my life has been in the last few months is in saying that God has been preparing me to set sail on a new and different course. A journey that is already taking me to far-off lands (Africa) and one of which I won't know the outcome, or even begin to sail without taking a big step of faith to believe that God will be my guide. As most of you probably know, this is a step that's required me to quit my job (and not submit a single resume or even look for a job replacement) and just trust the Lord to look out for me and the family. As crazy as the idea first seemed to me, it's actually been extremely liberating. To force yourself into dependency on God is the best way of saying, "I surrender". I've given up. I don't want a thing apart from God's perfect will. That doesn't mean I don't have huge expectations for what God will do. I see time and time again in Scripture where the Lord honors a genuine effort to rely on Him alone and always exceeds our expectations.
The reason tonight feels so strange is because tomorrow is my final day working for Tooth & Nail. I've anticipated this day but it came all too soon. When I began working for them nearly 7 years ago I had no real idea as to how long God would keep me there. I always told my boss that he should never fear losing me to the competition but rather to God's will. That when Christ called me into ministry, I wasn't going to hesitate. But even so, I feel under-prepared and like I need to be doing something more. In reality, God's been teaching me that the best thing I can do is just to be still. It's the same thing Moses told the Isrealites when they were faced with a much greater challenge than mine. “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today....The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14 - 13&14)
This past week has been what I would consider the last ditch effort of the enemy to try and convince me that I'm really crazy and speaking lies to me like "do you really believe God cares enough to catch you?" or "do you really think God is real?". Lies that I would never believe when my heart is full of faith. But in a moment of weakness, I started buying into the deception and suffered some serious heartache because of it. I've never really had a problem trusting in God or believing that He can do anything but the enemy was making this personal and his timing was superb. I have felt much like Peter, who stepped out on the water fully trusting in Jesus until he took his eyes off Him. Jesus' response was "You of little faith, why did you doubt?". Thankfully God pulled me out of the mess as I confessed my unbelief and asked God to keep me believing.
Jesus, would you please take any remaining doubt in any of our hearts, attach a brick to it and throw it into the deepest stretch of the sea? Would you get us as far away from the greatest hindrance to our faith and fill our voids with your life-breathing ability to break through. Please forgive our doubt and fill our cups to overflowing with faith. We need you. We can't go it alone. I can't go it alone. Teach us to follow your example regardless of how that might look. Thank you for your mercy.
Since this summer, My heart's prayer over this generation of youth has been one word, repeated. "Revive, Revive, Revive, Revive, Revive................!". So, if you're willing, please join me whenever you think about it to ask the Lord to bring forth a hunger and desperation in this generation that would revive the dead and wake the slumbering.
Christ be exalted above all else in each of our lives.