Wavering Faith...A Look at the Apostles of Jesus Christ
Have you ever felt like you let God down because you didn't believe or you had doubts?
I know I have.
Honestly, every day I do something, say something, or doubt something that I'm sure causes God to shake His head and roll His eyes at me. I know the Bible says "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and that our righteousness comes from faith in Jesus Christ, but how should we handle wavering faith?
What is Faith?
Hebrews 11:1 gives us the Biblical definition of faith: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." In simple terms, faith is believing and trusting even though you cannot see.
Faith is the basis for the foundation of the Christian life and the Bible has a lot to say about it.
To clarify further, here in Hebrews 11:1 the English word "faith" is translated from the Greek word pistis which is defined as having trust (or confidence) in God or in Christ and it also means having assurance and belief.
Faith is trusting in the Lord, no matter what your circumstances are and knowing that He keeps His promises. One thing that builds our faith is recalling the things that God has done in our lives, especially when it seems like we're on our own (even though we never are). Never forget that God will never leave you, no matter what.
Even the Apostles Had Doubts
When I read the Gospels, I am always amazed at the reaction of the Apostles.
These were men who spent every waking moment with the Messiah. They saw signs and wonders - in person. They were present when people were healed of their illnesses and cleansed from demons. They had front row seats to every miracle Jesus performed and yet we read about how their faith wavered.
The fact that the Apostles had questions, doubts and wavering faith
gives me hope!
It's always been unbelievable to me that the Apostles had wavering faith. They witnessed first hand the many miracles of Jesus. Yet, regardless of all they witnessed - the immense power and authority that Jesus possessed - they still questioned and still doubted.
The Apostles' Wavering Faith
As we know, the Apostles were present to see Jesus perform multiple miracles. In Matthew chapter eight, immediately following the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus came down from the mountain and healed a leper (verses 1-4). He then healed a centurion's servant (verses 5-13), and this was followed by healing Peter's mother-in-law (verses 14-15). And at the end of chapter eight, Jesus casts many demons out of a man.
In Matthew 14:13-21 Jesus takes five loaves of bread and two fish and not only feeds 5,000 people with it, but leaves and additional 12 baskets of food. After this amazing miracle takes place, Jesus sends the Apostles onto the sea to go to the other side. It is here where we read about one incident of their lack of faith.
This story is in Matthew 14:22-33 and here we see a glimpse of the doubt and lack of faith the Apostles have. Jesus walks on the water toward the boat and the Apostles become troubled. Jesus assures them that it is He who is walking on the water.
Peter wants to meet Jesus on the water and steps outside the boat. At first, he had the faith he needed to step outside the boat and onto the water; but when the wind started to blow, Peter became afraid and began to sink.
Jesus says to Peter in verse 31: "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
Why did Peter doubt? He had just witnessed many miracles. He knew the power Jesus possessed. In fact, Jesus healed his own mother-in-law, and yet, he still showed little faith. The truth is, Peter took his focus off Jesus and placed it on the storm, and that is when he began to sink.
(Focusing on Jesus will help to solidify your faith. Read my Post: "Seven Ways to Keep Your Focus on Jesus")
In the very next chapter (Matthew 15) we see another hungry multitude. This time it's a multitude of 4,000 people. You would think the Apostles would have understood the power that Jesus possessed, especially after feeding 5,000, but that was not the case.
The Apostles say to Jesus in Matthew 15:33 - "Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?"
...WHAT?!?! Jesus just fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fishes AND had food left over and you want to know how you're going to feed 4,000??? (See also Mark chapter 8).
Every time I read these scriptures I wonder what's wrong with these guys. How can you witness all these miraculous things that Jesus is doing and still not know what's up?
And then I look at myself... I am like the Apostles...I can certainly relate to how they feel, especially in trying times.
God is in Control
We know that difficult times are going to occur. We also know that trials will come and things will happen that we don't understand. But God doesn't owe us an explanation. He's God. He's sovereign and He doesn't answer to us. He doesn't answer to anyone. There is evidence of His love and power in our daily lives. And it is up to us not to miss the little things He does.
I like to think that my faith in God is solid. For the most part I believe it is. I know that God is in control. I know that He has a plan and a purpose for everything that happens. I am aware of God in most everything. In fact, just this week I have seen God act in my life, and although they have been little things, I know these things happened because He moved in my life.
(To learn more about how God is in control, go to my blog post: "The Most High God - El-Elyon - is in Control")
You would think that seeing even little things would solidify that God is always there. But again, life can be hard and in those hard times, faith can sometimes waver. In those hard times, when it seem impossible to go on or get through, we have to remember the times when our faith was strong and when we saw God in action.
Unlike the Apostles, we are not walking physically with Jesus - but He lives within us.
We may not be present to hear Him speak - but we have His Word.
We may not have Jesus physically guiding us - but we have the Holy Spirit.
When we walk in faith, we have everything we need to get through anything we face.
When we are faced with challenges, we have to stand firm on the promises of God. We cannot act irrationally, get angry, blame someone else, or treat others badly.....our character and our nature as children of the Living God must remain intact. God doesn't change, and neither should we.
We can learn a lot from the Apostles in regards to standing in faith. For example, when we see the Lord move in our lives, we need to recall those blessed time when things get tough. If the Apostles had remembered feeding 5,000, they may not have been concerned about feeding 4,000.
We cannot forget the promises and blessings of God
just because we go through rough times.
At the same time, we can't forget God when things are going well. We need to give Him praise and thank Him when things are positive and everything is working out. In other words, we need to be consistent - no matter what we are going through.
God IS ALWAYS THERE - for prayer and for praise.
When you feel like the Apostles and can't seem to recall what the Lord has done, pray His promises. Start in Romans chapter 8 - I have a few listed in the picture above. There are many promises listed in this chapter that are perfect reminders that God is in control and that our faith in Him will see us through everything!