This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt. The prompt today is “doubt.”
“Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.” (Matthew 21:21 NLT)
Verses like this are always a challenge to me, making me ask: Do I have faith? and Do I doubt?
The answers are yes and yes!
I don’t doubt God’s power to do the impossible. I have seen him at work and I have faith that he can do anything.
But why would he want to lift up a mountain and throw it into the sea?
I have faith in his power in general, but I often doubt I will see his power in specific situations.
I think a lot of this comes from experience. There are times when I’ve prayed and prayed, and I’ve believed God could do it, and I’ve seen him answer in powerful ways. There are other times when I’ve prayed and prayed, and I’ve believed God could do it, and, for whatever reason he hasn’t. I don’t necessarily believe the reason was a lack of faith.
I don’t doubt his power, and I don’t doubt his goodness (mostly!). I just doubt my ability to understand his purposes, to see what he’s doing, to ask for the right things.
I’ve felt challenged lately to pray bigger prayers, to have more faith, but it’s hard to pray without doubt – doubt in the outcome at the very least.
I hold to Jesus’ words, reminding us that sometimes it’s about persistence – if God doesn’t answer straight away it doesn’t mean he won’t answer at all. Also, the reminder that God is a good Father, who loves to give good gifts to his children, even if they are not always what we want or expect.
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” (Matthew 7:7-11 NLT)
I also love how Jesus gently dealt with people who doubted, such as John the Baptist – this post provides a reflection on that encounter.