Jesus sees right through every single one of our attempts to escape Him. Instead of running from Him, bring your doubts to Him.
Lay Aside the Weight of Doubt “Do not disbelieve, but believe.” (John 20:27)
In the race of faith that Jesus has called you to run (Hebrews 12:1), doubt is a weight you simply can’t keep running with. You’ve got to drop it. Today.
But first, let me explain what I mean by doubt. Doubt is not synonymous with unbelief in the Bible — at least not complete unbelief. The Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus were full unbelievers (John 10:26). But the man who cried out “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24) was not a full unbeliever, but a doubter.
Peter gives us a picture of doubt when he walks on the water with Jesus and then begins to sink. Jesus says to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). So doubt is not the complete absence of faith. It’s faith laden with weights of unbelief, which threaten to sink us. This is why Jesus responded to doubters like the man in Mark 9 or Peter in the water or Thomas after the resurrection (John 20:27) with firm but gentle rebukes calling them to stop disbelieving, while issuing blistering rebukes to the Jewish leaders (Matthew 23:33).
Going back to the metaphor of Hebrews 12:1, are you running with the weights of doubt?
Unbelief blinds our eyes to God’s goodness all around us. We begin to see our problems through our doubts rather than through the eyes of faith, knowing there is no impossible situation with God. Faith says God is bigger than any problem we may have and there is no problem He is unable to fix. But unbelief says this problem is an exception—and I may die waiting for Him to come to my rescue! Faith always looks beyond the momentary mess and sees a miracle in the making. Even a miracle can be seen in the wilderness or valleys.
In a moment of unbelief, we lose perspective and distort our perception of what’s happening.
He breaks off every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit, so that it will be clean and bear more fruit. John 15:2 GNT
In Exodus 16, Israel was being tested by God to be prepared to witness a heavenly miracle—the provision of manna. It wasn’t to destroy them but to disciple them into God’s ways. We often exaggerate our problems and underestimate the power of God to deliver us. The problem of perception results in a complaining, negative mood that blinds us to God’s true purpose, which is to make us more like Christ.
Jason Gray’s Story: The Vineyard
Brian Simmons, lead translator of The Passion Translation, said:
“If you were God, how would you respond to a million grumblers? Amazingly, God says, I know how I’ll fix this. They just need to see my glory! Seeing the glory of God is the answer to a negative heart. The Lord knew that the Hebrews were mere children in the ways of God. They had so much to learn. As a merciful Father He showed them mercy, not judgment. God was not coming to kill them, but to feed them. And even as they complained, the glory cloud was providing refreshing shade over their heads. He will never stop being faithful to His people.
One sight of glory will cure you of your grumbling. We know that when we’re complaining and whining and inviting others to our pity party, we’re not focused on the glory cloud that is above us and within us. If we can see His beautiful glory, full of all that we need and all that we want, we will be delivered from grumbling. And we will come up out of our wilderness leaning on our Beloved.
Every morning for forty years, a miracle took place as food fell down from heaven. Miracles will do it every time! Our grumbling goes away when we see the unmistakable breakthrough of power and when we’re convinced that God is with us after all.
Are you worried you might never get married? Or if you’re married, that your marriage may never get better? Are you afraid of failing at work or losing your job? Do you have fears about your health, what illness you might have or how you might die? Do you worry regularly about your children — their health, their relationships, their faith? When are you afraid?
What you fear most may be exactly where Satan is targeting you most. He preys on insecurity, anxiety, and distress. He pours the gasoline of lies on our fears — trying to persuade us that God is powerless, indifferent, or distant. Even King David, a man after God’s own heart, asks, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (Psalms 13:1).
God is not powerless; his power is immeasurably great (Ephesians 1:19). God is not indifferent toward you; he cares for you as a Father for his child (1 Peter 5:7). And God is not distant; he is “near to all who call on him” (Psalm 145:18). But he can feel far away when we are afraid.
It’s time to lay aside the weights of doubt. They need not impede your race. Your Savior died to free you from them and he’s going to help you. Trust him. And keep running with your eyes fixed on him (Hebrews 12:2).
The condition of great blessing from God is that we take refuge in Him. That condition is not a meritorious one; it is the condition of desperation and acknowledged weakness and need and trust. Desperation does not demand or deserve; it pleads for mercy and looks for grace.
“You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word” (Psalms 119:114). You need not worry about 2019. The new year gives us an opportunity to test the anchor of our souls, especially inside the waves of our fears about the future.