Every day we have choices. From the car we drive, to the way we spend each minute of our day, we are constantly weighing options and making decisions. Sometimes we think things through, consider all the factors, and make a decision that we believe is the best one. But many times we find ourselves caught in the middle of what we want, what other people may want from us, and what God has planned.
The problem that we often face is that we end up torn between what we want and what we think is “right”. And when we’re torn between different desires, we end up creating doubt. And that doubt will kill our faith faster than anything else in this world. We might be able to stand up against criticism, we might even be able to handle disappointment and discouragement, but when our minds fill with questions and doubts, our faith is gone.
James 1:5-8 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”
God will give us all the answers we want, but we can’t come to him with doubt. When we don’t know what we want, or if we don’t really expect God to give us what we ask for, then our faith becomes completely useless. The greatest enemy of our faith is not the devil, but our doubts.
I really don’t know the number of times I have heard people pray for something with all the right words, and sincerity in their voice, and then end their prayer with: “If it be Thy will.” And right then and there they revealed that they were not praying in faith, they were praying in doubt.
When we add that little escape clause to our prayers, we aren’t asking God to do what He thinks is right. What we are doing is placing the blame for our lack of faith, and consequently our unanswered prayers, in God’s lap. In essence we’re saying, “God, here’s my request, but I really don’t think You want to grant me my request, so…do whatever You want.”
The problem with, “God, do whatever you want,” is that most of the time we don’t know what He wants. It’s not that we can’t know, but many times we just don’t know. We pray for someone to be healed, but wonder if it might be God’s will for that person to be sick instead. We ask for a better job, but worry that making more money might ruin us, or that maybe God wants us to be stuck in some lousy job because we’ll learn something important.
It’s not that God can’t use every circumstance, good or bad, in our lives to teach us valuable lessons. And God can always bring glory to His name no matter what happens. The problem is that, too often, our prayers are nothing more than wishes that we believe will never be granted.
What hurts us most is that we think that God does what He wants to do, no matter what we pray. Some might look at that and say, “God is sovereign.” But to me that sounds more like God is capricious, and I refuse to accept that a loving God tells me to pray for what I want, and then ignores my prayers.
Have you been struggling with your faith? Is your mind full of doubt? Go to God and ask Him to expose the fears, questions, and misunderstandings that create doubt and to give you the wisdom and understanding to overcome them. God is waiting to answer your prayers.