[Month 2 (Week 5): This post is part of the “6 Month Discipleship Plan” series]
Before July ended, God used three passages and two people in a span of five consecutive days to speak truth to me about faith and doubts — two contradicting but important terms to understand and apply in life.
Saturday, July 27, 2019; personal time with God in Hebrews 11. I have read Hebrews 11:1 many times before. In fact, in the classes I am teaching, I consistently share this verse to my students along with Hebrews 11:6. But for a Spirit-led reason, Hebrews 11:1 resonated to me differently on that day. The Spirit asked me two questions: What are you hoping for? What is it that you want to see?
Those questions actually make sense. If faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see, then what am I hoping for? What is it that I want to see? In other words, if I am putting my faith in God, then what should I be confident of in Him? What should I be assured of in Him?
So, one by one, I laid my answers to God.
Monday, July 29, 2019; Bible study night. After reading a chapter of the book we are currently studying, which is Spiritual Authority by Watchman Nee, I opened up about some personal thoughts to my sisters in Christ. I shared that I still often doubt God’s leading in my life even after He would confirm to me that where I am right now is according to His will. I explained how I am in awe of God’s manifestation of grace in my life day after day yet still find myself hesitating to believe what He has promised.
In response, one of the ladies I was studying Scripture with shared a passage from James 1: “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
She encouraged me to not only believe in God when I come to Him but also to stop doubting Him. What she shared to me made me realize that I become three things when I doubt God: (1) A wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind; (2) A double-minded person who is unstable in the things I do; and (3) A person who should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
Tuesday, July 30, 2019; Ministry Meeting. During a personal ministry meeting, God used someone to re-tell to me the same verse from James 1. This time, that person emphasized an important truth regarding faith and doubts.
Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. – Matthew 11:23
He explained, “The size of your faith isn’t important — even a faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains; it is doubt that makes or breaks.”
It hit hard on me. The size of my faith does not matter; if I doubt God, I won’t and should not receive anything from Him. Doubting God is putting Him in a box and belittling what He can do even after knowing that He can make dry bones come alive, protect His servants in a fiery furnace or in a den of lions, part waters for His chosen ones, create the perfect universe by His word and yes, graciously give Jesus to us!
The person also shared the words of Jesus to Peter in the scene of Jesus walking on water.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?“ – Matthew 14:30-31
Even though Peter was the only one who had the faith to also walk on water towards Jesus, when doubts crept in because he started to look at the circumstances (winds), it shook him. Peter suddenly became like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. Yes, Jesus still grabbed and saved him when He cried out. Thus this illustrates a story of a loving Savior and a disciple who became unstable in his ways not because he had little faith but because he doubted.
Friday, August 2, 2019; Friday night Cell Group. During our Friday night Cell Group, our assigned leader said, “Let’s read through and meditate on Matthew 21:18–22”.
God surprised me again. The passage include these verses:
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
I know, I know. Not again, right? But at this point, I sensed that God isn’t only telling things to me repeatedly so I can hear and then understand it; He wanted me, more than anything, to apply it.
It was at this point that I started to claim how I am going to receive the things that I am believing for in prayer. I prayed for things that go beyond the circumstances I am at and God showed me visions. Really big ones! He showed me amazing plans and opportunities for us!
Lo and behold, the things I have been praying for started to move before my eyes.
God is an unfathomable God and it will always be foolish to put Him in a box made out of carnality.
Saturday, August 3, 2019; personal time with God in James 1. Finally, the next day, God brought me back to the verse I encountered in the beginning of the week.
This time, I took it as a loving reminder of God to me — that in times when doubts would start to creep in again, I can go back to this week when He intentionally and repeatedly led me to not only believe/have faith/trust in Him fully but more than anything, to not doubt Him at all.