Why do you doubt?


In the Gospel of Matthew an incident is recorded in the life of Jesus that is worth some thought. The disciples of Jesus were in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee at night when a storm arose and the disciples seemed to be fighting the waves, the wind and the water. Jesus had been praying on the mountaintop, but saw they were in trouble and came walking to them on the water.

The disciples, terrified by the storm, thought he was a ghost, but when he spoke to them, they calmed down, even though the storm did not. Then impetuous Peter called out to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

Jesus responded, not with a negative, but with the positive, “Come!” Peter stepped out of the boat and onto the water and walked toward Jesus. But before he could get to Jesus, he looked around him, saw the wind and began to sink. In short, his faith wavered. I don’t know how deep he sank, but my suspicion is he sank fast and deep, and probably as he bobbed in the water and gasped for air, he cried out to Jesus for help. In his moment of need, Peter reached desperately for Jesus and was so relieved when Jesus pulled him up out of the water.

When the brilliant ethicist John Kavanaugh went to work for three months at “the house of the dying” in Calcutta, he was seeking a clear answer as to how best to spend the rest of his life. On the first morning there he met Mother Teresa. She asked, “And what can I do for you?”

Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him. “What do you want me to pray for?” she asked.

He voiced the request that he had borne thousands of miles from the United States: “Pray that I have clarity.”

She said firmly, “No, I will not do that.”

When he asked her why, she said, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.”

When Kavanaugh commented that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for, she laughed and said, “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”

Trusting God means that we do not doubt Him, but rather we take Him at His word. Jesus’ response to Peter was “Why did you doubt?” That is the question for each of us as well. God wants us to trust Him no matter what the circumstances of our lives may be. Our natural tendency is to do whatever we do ourselves and in our own strength. But in almost everything we do there is the opportunity, if not the absolute certainty that, in our own strength we will fail. And in each situation where we falter, the issue is most assuredly found in the fact that we are trusting in ourselves and not God.

You may think you are sinking, but “Why did you doubt?” You may need clarity of purpose, but “Why did you doubt?” Your medical questions may not be completely answered, but “Why did you doubt?”

God is in the business of stretching our faith, so our responsibility is not to ask Him for clarity but to simply trust Him with every ounce of our being. Tomorrow morning, will you pray with me, “Lord, I trust You for all You have for me today. Do with me what You will.” Then proceed through the day victorious, knowing that God has already answered your prayer, and is guiding you through all your thoughts, all your activities, and all your interactions with whomever you come in contact. He is the One you are serving, so why do you doubt?

God bless…

Chuck Tabor is a religion columnist for The Times-Gazette and a former Hillsboro area minister who now resides in Florida. He can be reached at cdtabor3@gmail.com.

No posts to display