Shots Across the Bow

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Faith and Doubt

Most people desperately desire to believe that they are part of a great mystery, that Creation is a work of grace and glory, not merely the result of random forces colliding. Yet each time they are given but one reason to doubt, a worm in the heart of the apple of the heart makes them turn away from the thousand proofs of the miraculous, whereupon they have a a drunkard's thirst for cynicism, and they feed upon despair as a starving man on a loaf of bread.

Odd Thomas

The quote comes from the book Odd Thomas: An Odd Thomas Novel by Dean Koontz.

I don't know what Koontz has for a religious background, but he couldn't have described the human condition any more perfectly regarding our faith and our doubts. We are told throughout the Bible that God is in control, and that everything that happens is in accordance with His will.

As Christians, we should believe that. So why do we worry?

Because we are human.

When I fail, and my faith falters, I look at Peter, and know that I am in good company. Jesus called Peter a rock, and said that He would build his church upon that rock. That's pretty high praise, but Jesus also told Peter that his faith would fail through fear, enough so that Peter would deny even knowing Jesus.

And we know how that turned out.

What really strikes me about Peter though, is what a slow learner he was. After all, this wasn't the first time he'd been tested and failed.

After Jesus fed the multitude, he ordered the apostles with him to take their boat and go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee while He went into the mountains to pray. During the crossing, storms held back their boat and in the dark just before dawn, they saw Jesus walking to them on the water.

[28] And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” [29] He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. [30] But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” [31] Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”


(Matthew 14:28-31 ESV)

Here's what gets me every time I read this. Peter was walking on the water. He didn't step out and immediately sink; he was walking on the water. He was doing it. But he saw the waves and felt the wind, and began to doubt, not Jesus, but himself. We know this because when he began to sink beneath the waves, he called out to Jesus to save him. He still believed that Jesus had the power to save him; his doubt was for himself.

You have to admit, Peter failed both times, and very spectacularly at that. Yet Jesus still saved him from the water, and still poured the Holy Spirit on him at Pentecost, and even made him the spokesman for that awesome event. See Acts Chapter 2.

It relieves me to know that when I doubt, I can be forgiven. I can still call on Jesus to save me from the waves and He will still reach out His hand and pull me back into the boat. How many of us as Christians really, truly believe that? And how many fall into the trap that opened this article? How many allow their doubts to separate them from God? How many take a burden of guilt for their momentary doubts? And how much does Satan use that doubt and guilt to drive us further away from God?

Remember Peter. He doubted. His faith failed. But still he cried out "Jesus, Save me!"

And Jesus did.
Posted by Rich
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