I’ve had an extraordinary experience over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to share it. But, I can tell you this. Even if I had never seen the handiwork of God in a situation before, I would know that He existed now.
I have a confession to make. Though a Christian, I often experience periods of doubt – about my life, about my work, about my ability to write. There. I said it. I am flawed. I even (cough, cough) err. I make mistakes. And, I sometimes forget that – despite my blunders – I belong to a God who forgives, cleanses and delivers me from my sin and despite my past failures.
The experience to which I allude began with the arrival of a strange email. I nearly deleted it. Had I followed through, it’s unlikely that I’d ever have suffered a tangible consequence – at least not from my perspective. But, therein lies the issue. I’m not interested in following the easy path – the broad way that leads to destruction.
I aspire – dare I say it? – to please God. So, when I act, or fail to act, those acts and omissions carry consequences. Some are relatively minor in nature and others far-reaching. It can be difficult to discern which is true in a given set of circumstances. That isn’t the case here. Had I failed to open that email, I might never have embarked upon a path that God clearly delineated for my life.
From the moment I perused the message, until approximately 7:00 pm yesterday evening, I remained in a state of taut, breathtaking suspense about God’s will. I couldn’t have written a more surprising, intricate, mind-blowing short story about myself if I’d tried.
So, where’s all the doubt? Allow me to share. That email put me to work – literally. I’ve never studied so hard, written so much, met so many people, or stretched myself so intensely in the absence of a definite promise of a return on my investment. An inconceivable sequence of events invigorated me, tested me, and proved me. But, throughout the entire process, I doubted the wisdom of my behavior and questioned the sanity of my enthusiasm.
Once I’d reached the end of the ride, I exhaled, smiled and rejoiced. While in the throes of what dramatists or playwrights refer to as the “rising action,” “the climax,” and the “falling action,” however, I waffled. My behavior paralleled that of the Apostle Peter when he espied Jesus walking on the water in Matthew 14:22-33.
At first, I doubted that what I saw had come from God. Then, I acquired just enough faith to entertain the notion. In my heart, I said, “Jesus, if this message is from you, permit this next event to occur.” After that event transpired, I queried him about the next and the next. At each stage, Jesus confirmed his presence upon the undulating waters. But, as the depths grew ever more profound, I never hesitated to ask, “Jesus, are you still there?”
As I neared the end of my journey, I grew distracted. I thought I’d failed to achieve my goal and began to sink – into uncertainty, into suspicion, and into despair. From the depths of my soul, I shouted Peter’s words: “Lord, save me.” I began to thank Him for the experience, praise Him for His mercy, and worship Him for His grace.
In due course, God delivered me and turned my mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11). But, as He rescued me, He spoke compassionately into my heart, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)
If you’ve ever experienced skepticism, uncertainty, or doubt – and been rescued by Jesus before you descended into the stormy depths for the last time – please leave a comment below.