What kind of doubts do you have? Do your doubts catch you off guard? Do they appear suddenly, out of nowhere? Do your doubts only occur when you are confronted with an unexpected situation?
We all have doubts at different times in our lives. Doubts are a natural part of life. Being skeptical can be a healthy attitude for us to have. It can also be a detriment to our ability to achieve success. It can hold us back and even paralyze us.
You may wonder how doubting can paralyze you. Doubts can grow into fear and fear can become paralyzing. Fear may come all of a sudden, but it can also grow from something much smaller, such as a doubt. We may have doubted we would make the basketball team and it manifested itself into a fear so strong we didn’t perform well, and our doubt turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Doubts can become worries. We fret over our doubts to the point they affect our health and our decisions. We may choose to hibernate in our homes out of fear. We may choose to not go on a date because we don’t feel we are good enough for the other person. We can all point to doubts we have had that kept us from doing something we wanted or someone else was encouraging us to do.
Today’s passage comes from the end of the encounter the apostle Peter had with Jesus walking across the lake. The apostles were instructed to go across in a boat while Jesus went up on the mountain to pray. In the middle of the night, Jesus is walking across the lake when they see Him, thinking perhaps he was a ghost. Peter told Him to call him out on the water if he was not a ghost. Jesus calls Peter out to Him. Peter is fine until the wind kicks up, then he was afraid. All of a sudden, Peter is sinking and cries out to Jesus to save him.
You might view Peter’s reaction to the wind as fear. It is a classic case of doubt turning into fear in a heartbeat. The process starts with Peter initially doubting he could walk on water, which turned to fear, and caused him to lose faith in Jesus.
Doubts spring up and can manifest themselves into fear quickly. It can happen so fast; we cannot identify the process by which it occurred. How do we counter it? Jesus tells us Himself—increase our faith. We need to step out in faith more often and grow in faith. This doesn’t mean we need to attempt to walk across a lake. We do need to take small steps in faith and grow into taking bigger steps.
I pray we all take steps in faith. I pray we rid ourselves of doubts with faith. I pray each one of us will face our doubts and believe Jesus will be with us each step of the way as we conquer them. Trust Jesus. Trust God. Increase your faith. Rid yourself of doubt.
Matthew 14:31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”