Why Do We Doubt?

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 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 14:22-31

Have you ever had a passage of scripture that you had read over and over again but just seemed to completely “miss” a particular part of it for most of that time? This passage is one of those for me. I know, it seems a bit silly…. after all, most of us have heard this story since we were small children in Sunday School. However, for whatever reason, what I’ve always carried away from this is the part about Jesus walking on water and the fact that He calmed the seas. Somehow, I had managed to miss (or not focus on is probably more to the point) the part about Peter joining Him on the water, walking a few steps, and then beginning to doubt and sinking into the water.

However, a few Sundays ago in church it just suddenly jumped right out at me…. almost knocked me over in my seat. Our pastor has begun a series of sermons on this passage and, as the scripture was read on that particular Sunday morning, I suddenly realized not only that I had kind of glossed over this part for years, but that I am just like Peter. I call on the Lord, I turn it all over to Him and I trust and I feel as Peter did as he began to walk on the water towards Jesus. Life goes on great until something happens – maybe life gets too busy and becomes overwhelming, maybe I experience a difficult situation at work, maybe I’m just tired – whatever it is, it happens and I let that take over the trust I have put in the Lord and I begin to sink. At those times, I can imagine the Lord saying the exact same words He said to Peter that day on the water – “Melanie, you you have so little faith, why do you doubt?”.

Why do we do that? Why do we let our doubts and our frustrations get in the way of the trusting God in everything? I would imagine it has something to do with the fact that we imperfect humans.

Regardless of our imperfections, though, we can ALWAYS count on one thing as we go thru our times of doubt and our times when we rely more on ourselves than on the Lord. We can always count on our Lord reaching out and grabbing hold of us and pulling us back in when we do cry out to Him (just as He did for Peter). As long as we make ourselves available, our Lord is there holding out His hand and taking hold.

To make it even better? We don't have to wait. Once we cry out and make ourselves available, the response is immediate. It doesn't mean we will get the answer we want immediately (or even the answer that we want), but we can be sure the God will take hold of our hand and walk with us through whatever lies ahead.

9 Thoughts Shared:

Joan said...

Jesus rescues. Jesus saves.

Great post. We had a sermon on this very passage 2 weeks ago too.


Tracy said...

I struggle with this, too. We're working through Breaking Free, an old Beth Moore study. Last week, we were discussing the man with the demon possessed son. He brought Him to Jesus asking for healing. In doing so, he asked Jesus to help him believe in His ability to heal him. We all took such comfort from the idea that even those who lived in Jesus' day, who had no doubt heard firsthand, and in some cases even seen him perform miracles...still struggled with doubt. Praise God, when confess our disbelief, He is more than willing to help us overcome.

Great post!


Cheryl said...

Do we struggle with this because in our human nature it is easier to doubt than have faith! We know HE is in control and can do anything....

Thanks for sharing!


Sab said...

It's funny, I just read this passage this morning in my devotions, and found myself drawn to the part where Jesus grabs Peter "immediately". It's as if His hand was already there. It's as if He knew Peter would become afraid and doubt. Another thing I noticed was that Peter had no issues as long as he looked at Jesus instead of the circumstances around him.

Thanks for sharing! :) God Bless!

Laurie Ann said...

Oh, why do we do that, indeed! I'm guilty! But each time I have reached out my hand He has been so faithful to take it and take from it what I need Him to take back. Great great great post, Melanie!

LisaShaw said...

Great reminder and humbling encouragement. May the LORD strengthen our faith in HIM and forgive our times of disbelief. May we BELIEVE ONLY HIM!

Tricia said...

This is good Melanie... and something just jumped out at me as I read this scripture tonight, the fact that even though there was a storm at sea, Jesus was calmly walking on the water in the midst of the storm... that is something I have never seen before or even heard someone preach on. I think I will think on that one for a while...


Diana said...

Timely word. I needed this tonight. And need the Lord to grab hold of me.

adelfa said...

while reading your post, i suddenly paused a moment and think how big is him he is greatly to be praise. blessing to you.you have a powerful blog