What is unwavering faith?
James says that when we pray to God, we must believe and not doubt because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord, and such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
I was wavering and unstable when I fell off the ladder yesterday. I am painting the outside of my house from blue to red. The problem is that I am very afraid of heights. But I told myself I’d be okay, so I climbed a six-foot ladder that got me as high as the gutter. Then, yesterday, lo and behold, I fell off the ladder. The bucket on top of the ladder toppled, and the heavily concentrated bleach I used for the prep came over my head. For the rest, it wasn’t a terrible accident because I knew I would fall. When I lost my balance, I managed to push myself off with my feet, and I landed six feet lower but on my feet. I was startled, but okay.
Why did I fall? My friend stood on the other side of the house on a 24-foot ladder and was okay. No fear, no worries, no fall, no bleach over her face. My fear had made the ladder wobbly. My shaky body, which was so fearful of the height, made me unstable and made my fears come true. I am not the only one with this problem. How many videos have I seen of people trying to step into a perfectly floatable canoe, but because of their fear, they start to wobble, and the canoe tips over.
Fear is often the cause of our falls. Not the object that we are afraid of. In other words, many things in life are stable until we start to wobble.
The same is true for our faith. God says that in faith, we can move mountains. We can do anything. And the story that proves this is Peter walking on the waves. In faith, in love for Jesus, in believing enthusiasm, he walked on water. Everything worked. Peter was happily believing. The waves were obeying him. Life was smooth until he started to wobble and shake, lost his stability, and lost the miracle when he started to sink.
What does God want to teach us from wobbly Peter and me, from the wobbly Jo on the ladder accident?
Faith and security in life go hand in hand. Cultivating faith in God’s direct involvement and investment in our lives gives us a lot of security. Faith that the ladder will hold me, Jo, when I look down and am afraid. Faith that God is holding me when life intimidates me. Because just as the ladder starts to wobble only when I start to wobble, our belief that God does not have us strongly in his hand will waver. Watch how quickly our life will be overtaken by anxiety and obsessive worries.
Okay then, but how do we cultivate faith?
It starts with deciding to believe that God, a rock and firm foundation, is directly involved in our lives and holds us very tightly. The Bible says that we are in the palm of his hands and that we are in his control. That nothing in life can happen outside GOd’s will. Psalm 73 says that our hand is in God’s hand, and Isaiah says we are engraved in God’s palms. That is direct involvement. That is security. That is closeness.
Being in God’s hand doesn’t mean we don’t suffer. It means that whatever happens, we are intrinsically safe and close to God. With that knowledge, scary and fearful things that come my way, including my fear of flying and such, are not so bad. I say: God, you are carrying this plane in your big hand. Gravity is not an issue for you. And if you decide to crash it, I’ll be even closer to you. Then I can smile through my flight.
So, think today and tomorrow about what God’s hand palm looks like for you. How God comforts you, talks to you, restores your relationships, gives you community, and how close God has been. Then, based on that, let’s be bold and not waver like Peter on the sea and me on the ladder. Height, depth, nothing is our enemy except our unbelief.