It is amazing how quickly I tend to doubt God.
Let that thought simmer for a moment. How often do you doubt God? His provision? His grace? His love?
I’ve been trying to do a better job lately of praying with expectation. I remember praying with someone during a church service a few months ago, and I got a text that the Lord answered that prayer almost immediately after. Here’s another example that just happened: My wife and I have been praying that the Lord will provide a way for us to be able to pay for a lot of major expenses this summer. We’ve talked about how we can do our part and be good stewards of the money that the Lord has entrusted us with, but we’ve also been praying with the expectation that the Lord will provide. We began praying for this on a Sunday night. On Wednesday, I received an email offering me a job with the county that will pay for at least 1/4 of what we need, with the potential to cover all of it! Sometimes, in not so subtle ways, the Lord answers our prayers.
Yet we still doubt.
The Lord provided manna from heaven daily for the Israelites in the book of Exodus.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you will see the glory of theLord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” 8 Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”
It is easy to say that the Israelites had the audacity to ask for meat instead of manna. It is easy to say that the Israelites should have had faith daily and trusted the Lord’s for provision. It is easy to say that the Israelites should not have had a reason to complain. Yet they did. The Lord showed up daily yet they complained and doubted.
Yet we do the same thing. I can think of times in my life where I have said in passing conversations the things in this world that I wanted. I remember that I always liked the body style of early 90’s Honda Civics. When I had saved up enough money and was in the market to buy a car, my dad took to see a car that our mechanic had for sale. I paid cash for it! I remember driving down the road, several months later, and I passed an early 90’s Honda Civic. I thought to myself, “I really like that car.” Then it dawned on me, the very car that I just said I liked was the same car I was driving. Just like in Psalm 37:4, the Lord knew the desires of my heart and he delighted in giving them to me!
Here’s another example of Psalm 37:4 in my life. I knew that I always wanted to be a teacher, but I have never been interested in coaching sports. A male high school teacher that does not coach is virtually non-existant. When I was applying for jobs 4 years ago, I got a call from a school I didn’t even apply to. Little did I know that 2 days after I graduated college, I would be offered a job teaching Social Studies. For the last four years, I have had a teaching position where I don’t have to coach… our school doesn’t even have sports! The Lord knows the desires of our hearts!
Yet we still doubt Him.
Even though Peter saw Jesus walk on water, he lacked faith. The gospel of Matthew records the account as follows:
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said,“why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Peter let the situations of the world cloud his vision about who Jesus was. This led to him sinking into the sea. How often do we let our worldly situations cloud our vision?
I encourage you to keep a prayer journal. Write down the different things that you pray for each and every day, and then write down all of the different ways that the Lord answers your prayers. Also, include any other Psalm 37:4 moments that you have in your daily life. The ability to see how the Lord works in your life will help to strengthen your faith.
Trust that the Lord’s promises are the same today as they were yesterday, as they will be tomorrow. Know that when you doubt, you are not alone. And the Lord will meet you, and like Peter, He will reach out to you and pull you back into the boat.