_ Delight or Doubt

The manner which we conduct ourselves in our daily lives is described as our baseline. As believers, our desire is having a baseline that delights in the LORD and remains stalwart in our faith. In Romans 4:20-21, this description of Abraham is appealing: “20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.” Ideally, regardless of the circumstances, how we feel, or events happening within our lives, community or beyond, we remain firmly planted on the solid rock and our eyes are fixed only on Him. However, there can be times when we are wallowing in doubts versus remaining delighted in Him. This may be due to challenges within our work, school, family, or community and/or experiencing disappointments. When doubt threatens our baseline behavior, there is a cascade of negative results. It causes us to capitulate to fear and worry. In the well-known story of Peter walking on the water (Matthew 14:28-31) the moment he starts doubting he begins sinking. Doubt takes us far from where we need to be. James 1:6 describes the one who doubt is like “a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” And not only that, James 1:7 issues a stern warning explaining “That person should not expect to receive anything from the LORD.” Hebrews 10:38 describes how the LORD views doubters for He “takes no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” Additionally, doubting robs us of our joy and peace. It blinds us to the abundant evidence of the goodness of the LORD within our own lives and the world in which we live. To avoid having a baseline defined by doubt, there are several actions we can take. First is ceasing trying to figure everything out - especially when facing situations where solutions are convoluted or impossible. This includes determining actions to take concerning a family member who continually makes destructive choices, a strife filled marriage, or a personal financial crisis. During such times our prayers seem to go unanswered. Lacking certainty about what to do results in feeling disheartened and exhausted and leads to doubting if the LORD can and/or will do anything. This is circumvented by approaching the LORD with childlike faith. We need to choose to replace the “when, how, where, what and how” thinking related to the situation with pure and unadulterated trust akin to how a young child looks to a parent in meeting a need. Psalm 116:6 encourages us to have childlike faith by reminding us “The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.” When harboring doubts, another action is choosing to focus on the goodness and faithfulness of the LORD. Taking time to reflect on and celebrate how He has answered prayers in the past pivots us from a baseline of doubting to one of delight. Focusing on scriptures reminding us of His goodness and faithfulness are also effective. Psalm 145:9 tells us “The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.” Psalm 116:7 encourages us to “Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.” And, Hebrews 10:23 instructs us to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who is promised is faithful.” Remembering His love for us extinguishes doubts. The greatest expression of His love is found in 1 John 4:9 “This is how God showed His love among us: He Sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.” Romans 8:38-39 assures us neither death, life, spiritual forces, current or future events or powers, “nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God.” Christ’s love described in Ephesians 3:19 as surpassing knowledge and can fill us up to “all the fullness of God” thus leaving no room for doubts to creep in. Finally, praying is vital for combating doubt, as 2 Corinthians 10:4 teaches us the weapons of our warfare are “not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of strongholds.” An initial action when doubts are encroaching is doing as the prophet Samuel did when first hearing of troubling news he “prayed to the LORD” (1 Samuel 8:6). Since Colossians 4:2 encourages us to “Continue steadfastly in prayer”, we are to persistently lift up the specific concerns and situations feeding our doubts. We can ask the LORD to eradicate our doubt just as the father seeking Jesus’s help for his demon possessed son requested “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24) Although Jesus warned us “in this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33) our baseline can remain one of delight. That is because doubt has no influence in our lives when it is overwhelmed by His faithfulness, goodness and love.