April 30, 2023
One of the most mesmerizing aspects of life is to watch the waves at the ocean. It’s probably the rhythm of the waves, but whatever it is you can get caught staring at the ocean waves and quite frankly find it very relaxing. However, the Bible uses this scene of the waves of the sea for a completely different lesson; doubting causes us to be tossed about like a wave of the sea.
James 1:5–8 (ESV) — 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
When it comes to faith in God, there is no room for doubts as we demonstrate our faith, even as we look to God in prayer.
Matthew 21:21–22 (ESV) — 21 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Hebrews 11:6 (KJV) — 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Notice I used the King James version in the verse above because I believe that a demonstration of faith in our seeking after God is to be done “diligently” as opposed to “half-heartedly.” When Jesus taught His disciples about prayer, He made sure to focus on the fact that prayer and doubt do not mix well at all. When doubts prevail, we need to go to the word of God, seek the help of the Holy Spirit to overcome those doubts, and press on based upon the reliability of God and His promises.
Another important doubt curing aspect of the Christian life is the importance of “doctrine” which simply means “teaching.” When studying the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ and the rest of the Bible, you’ll find doctrine or the teaching of the Bible. Notice in the scripture below that sound doctrine (teaching) is important to Christian growth and maturity as well as keeping us from being tossed about like a wave of the sea going from teaching to doubt to teaching to doubt, etc.
Ephesians 4:11–14 (ESV) — 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
One of the reasons we find ourselves driven and tossed like the waves of the sea is the fact that God does not answer our prayers on our time schedule. We are so accustomed to instant gratification that the slightest variation from our timeline brings on a flood of doubt. But what does James say about that? That we should not expect to receive anything of the Lord. So how do we deal with delays?
Daniel 9:20–23 (ESV) — 20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the Lord my God for the holy hill of my God, 21 while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, “O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision.”
First, we must understand that our desired time may not be the proper season for us to receive the desired mercies from God. As noted in the passage above, Gabriel seemed to be dispatched when Daniel first prayed, but it was some time before he arrived.
Secondly, we should grasp from this passage that affective providences have not yet accomplished the design upon our heart for which they were sent. In other words, we are so earnest and impatient for an answer, but God will not supply it until the needed change in us has taken place.
Thirdly, the more prayer and searching of heart that comes between our wants and our supplies, the sweeter the relief becomes to us.
Oh, to be rid of tossing and turning like the waves. May we consider the need for stability and find that stability in God and His word as we learn to trust Him for outcomes as well as timing.
Bob Brubaker, Pastor