O you of little faith, why did you doubt? Matthew 14:31
Just like her famous father, Rev. Billy Graham’s sweet daughter Anne is full of wisdom. Her year-long Bible study is aptly entitled Into the Word, and is downright good teaching. When delving into why Jesus had to die, she presents Matthew 26:64-66 where ol’ Caiaphas was in a tizzy over Jesus calling Himself the Messiah, the Son of Man. One of Sister Anne’s questions was, “What doubts do you have about God’s Word or about who Jesus is?” Well immediately I skipped to the next question, piously thinking, “I don’t doubt Jesus’ deity in the least.” But then she had us read Mark 11:23 and conviction began to bubble. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. I had to sit a spell and sincerely search my soul. Do I honestly, way down deep, believe I can move mountains? Do my mind and my heart reflect my faith without fail? Sorrowfully, I had to admit not. When I’m not getting my way I wonder if God’s gone AWOL. Sometimes I am fearful, discounting His promised care. And all too often I make choices rooted in my own selfish will vs. my Father’s. That’s doubt, folks, plain and simple. We believe our thoughts are higher than God’s. We trust our fickle feelings above our Lord’s promises. And when we succumb to the pull of the passions of the flesh vs. claiming control through the Holy Spirit, afterwards declaring, “I just couldn’t help myself,” we’re doubting the immeasurable greatness of His power toward those who believe.
Let’s go back together and reconsider Miss Anne’s question, “What doubts do you have about God’s word or about who Jesus is?”
Do you believe that surrender to the Spirit can and is transforming you into a new creation? Do you believe through His slow sanctification process you can become patient, kind and loving, even though your natural tendencies are untoward and testy? (That’s a BIG believe for me.) Where do you doubt? When are you tossed and tumbled by the mood of the moment? You passionately pledge to be active every day, then compromise on your commitment to walk. You determine to eat only God-grown foods, then fumble when offered sweet treats. Do you doubt the love and logic in His call to care for your temple? Do you believe your feelings and desires are more trustworthy than His commands? Do you look to your own strength instead of relying on His, disbelieving you will ever be healthy?
Let’s consider together Jesus’ disappointment in His doubting disciples. Just after He had fed 5000 with five loaves and two fish (and by the way, had leftovers for the next day’s lunchbox,) He sent the disciples across the lake “while He dismissed the crowds.” (Matthew 14:22) Upon seeing the storm (like He didn’t know this was part of the script…) He walked upon the water to get them, immediately assuring them, Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid. Now that’s truly amazing! Only Someone Supernatural could stroll atop the sea. So Peter, in his Peter-ish manner, says, Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water. Jesus says, “Come on!” Because he believed, Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. Now let’s pause here a moment. Peter actually walked on the water awhile. He personally experienced Jesus’ faithfulness and power. You’ve had miracle moments, too, haven’t you? Where you did something you never could have done in your own weak flesh? So just like Peter, we’ve seen what He can do when we believe. Now back to Pete. But when he saw the wind he was afraid… Peter’s brain overwhelmed his heart. He told himself water-walking was impossible. Instead of focusing on Providential power he cowered to his external circumstances. We never do that, now do we? His uncertainty began tugging him under the tide. He was sinkin’ ‘cus of sinkin’ thinkin’! Have you had a time or two when Jesus called you out of the boat, right into the blustery wind, and you became afraid or frustrated and buckled? How many times have you started a food and/or fitness program, then doubted and dumped it? Have you convinced yourself you’ll never be healthy? Do you have sinkin’ thinkin’?
Let’s circle back to Peter, …and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord save me.” You gotta love Pete. He’s definitely bravado-boy, but when he’s going under he’s not too proud to call on his Lord for help. How about you? Are you still trying to finagle your fitness by mind-over-munchies willpower? Is there even a teeny-weeny part of you that wants to tighten up your tummy just to prove you can? To become good enough? Oh sisters, you ARE good enough! You are a new creation! But you are also needy and weak, so God wants to be your refuge and strength, a very present help in time of need. (Psalm 46:1) Don’t wait another minute. Cry out, “Lord, save me!”
Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:22-33)
Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt I would make you strong in your Spirit? Why did you doubt that passions of the flesh are a privilege because they tether you tighter to Me? Why did you doubt I would be by your side when the winds whipped up? Don’t you know I prod you to care for your temple so you fully experience My abundant life?
O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
Let’s recap a moment.
Peter had just seen Jesus turn a family-of-four-sized-supper into a buffet for a throng.
He watched Jesus sally atop the sea, and he followed right after Him!
There was no question, Jesus called him to leave the boat. He said, “Come.” Succinct clarity.
Jesus was right at his side but… when he saw the wind, he was afraid.
To what has Jesus called you?
Is there an area in your life you feel yourself slowly sinking?
What frightens you, dear? Honestly.
Is there something you obviously can’t do in your own strength (coulda, shoulda, woulda,…), but you know you will stay afloat with Jesus holding your hand?
Call out to your Savior, “Lord save me!” Jesus will immediately reach out His hand and stable you.
Let’s go before our God in prayer:
Gracious Lord Jesus, we confess we easily get overwhelmed by the waves of this world. We are prone to allow the storms of life to wash away our faith in You. Lord, strengthen us with power through Your Spirit in our inner being. Give us a glimpse of the immeasurable greatness of Your power toward us who believe. And Father, help us to trust. Save us. Take hold of us that we might live our lives victoriously and miraculously, that others might see, that You might be glorified. Amen