Why do we doubt? Even if we’ve trusted the Lord for many years, certain conditions may cause our faith to waver. Let’s consider these circumstances:
A situation goes against our human reasoning. A good example of this is Peter’s experience of walking on the water. He started out confident, but as soon as he looked away from Jesus and saw the waves, he started thinking humanly—people can’t walk on water—and his faith faltered. We are just like Peter when we know what God has said but try to add our reasoning to His commands. For instance, if we give part of our income to the Lord, it seems like we won’t have enough. But Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you” (Luke 6:38). Anytime we rely on our own logic, we’ll miss God’s best for our lives.
We allow feelings to overcome our faith. If the Lord calls us to do something that seems impossible or unreasonable, we can be certain that He will equip us for it. However, if we let feelings of fear, inadequacy, or unworthiness cause us to doubt His promise, we could miss the opportunity through disobedience. Because the Holy Spirit lives within us, we can live a supernatural life in His power if we’ll just obey Him. We’re called to live by faith, not fear.
We don’t see God in certain circumstances. The Lord has promised to take care of us, but it may not be in the way we want. We may think that the Lord couldn’t possibly be in the midst of a difficult or painful situation, but He is. According to Romans 8:28, He promises to work all things for our good if we love Him and are called according to His purpose.
We listen to negative counsel. When we’re trying to discern the will of God, we must be careful whom we ask for guidance. Some friends might offer to help us seek the Lord’s direction through prayer, but others may simply tell us what we want to hear or what they’d do in that situation.
We focus on the circumstances. Little problems can become huge when they dominate our thoughts. That’s why we must always consider every situation in the light of our great God. He can handle anything and everything. When we cease worrying and fretting, we demonstrate that we truly do trust the Lord.
We may be ignorant of God’s ways. When Lazarus fell ill, Mary and Martha called for Jesus because they believed He could heal their brother. They thought they knew how God should work in the situation, but Jesus had something greater in mind. He delayed coming in order to raise Lazarus from the dead. Spiritually speaking, we must ignore our watches and calendars because God’s timing is not ours. He alone knows what to do, and when to do it. His delays do not mean He’s forgotten us.
We might feel guilt over past sins. Sometimes we doubt that God could possibly forgive us for something we did in the past. Even after we’ve confessed it, we still carry a heavy load of guilt. The problem is one of unbelief because 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” As believers, there’s nothing we have to do to earn His forgiveness since Christ paid for all our sins on the cross. Although we may still have to deal with the consequences, our guilt has been removed.
We could be listening to the devil. He’s always trying to deceive us and put doubts in our minds so we won’t trust the Lord (John 8:44).
Have you ever had to deal with any of these situations? How did you handle them? When circumstances test our faith, we can always return to God’s Word and remember the ways in which He has come through for us in the past. Know that He is trustworthy, He is faithful, and He is always looking out for our best interests.
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Why Do We Waver in Our Faith?” which airs this weekend on TV.