These verses can give us great insight into what it takes to combat doubt and fear in our lives. The first part gives us clear directions as to what our responsibilities are. We are to be steadfast trusting in the Lord at all times…calling on Him first, and not as an afterthought. We are to turn our back on our old sinful ways, but even more importantly, it says we are to not tolerate or enable sin to remain in our house. This is called compromise, and unfortunately many a Christian household has crumbled when questionable moral concessions have been made. As we work on our responsibilities, we can as Job 22:26 says, ” Find delight in the Almighty and lift up our face to God.” For when there is no longer the guilt and shame of sin weighting us down, we can lift up our head and look straight into the eyes of Jesus with a clear conscience…free of self-doubt and fear.
This story about the boy and the evil spirit was important enough to be in three of the four New Testament accounts by the disciples. Matthew, Mark and Luke all give slightly different takes on this event, but the main thought rang true throughout all three…the disciples couldn’t heal the boy on their own. But instead of admitting defeat, giving up, or walking away, they came to Jesus searching for answers. In Matthew 21:21 Jesus replied to their inquiry by telling them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt…” Doubt is being double-minded or having a divided mind. So when we doubt, we sway back and forth between faith and fear…never achieving full confidence and trust in what God can do. But just like the disciples, if we will go to Jesus admitting our shortcomings, He will speak truth in order to dispel our doubt. And if, like the boy’s father we ask Jesus to, ” Help me overcome my unbelief!” He will show us the way.
I’m quick to say, “I trust in the Lord!” I really have no qualm about putting my faith in Him…it’s just myself I can’t trust. For I believe I know what I can’t do…but am I really trusting in the Lord then? That’s because every time I say to myself, “I can’t do that.” I’m denying and discounting what the Lord can do through me. Now I know I can’t save myself…I can only depend upon God for deliverance. So then I need to take that same trusting dependence and apply it to my “I can’t do that.” statements. For the bottom line is, my dependence can never be on myself, but on God alone.
The next time you’re trembling with fear and unable to understand the whys of what’s happening in your life…focus your mind on this. God is omnipotent…having all authority. He is omnipresent…having all presence. He is omniscient…having all understanding. Who better to place your trust in? For our hope can only come from God when our heart is steadfast and secure in Him.
In II Chronicles 32, the king of Assyria had invaded Judah and laid siege…empowered by his massive army of horses, chariots, and soldiers. However, King Hezekiah stood his ground and encouraged the people by saying, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the King of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him.” (II Chronicles 32:7) So anytime when our circumstances look overwhelming… we need to remember that we too have that greater power with us.
Later in this same Chapter, Jesus repeats these words again, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) In both verses Jesus is telling us that we have control over doubt, fear, and confusion…”Do not allow (or permit) your hearts (or minds) to be troubled. (confused and/or terrified) ” He wouldn’t be telling us to do something if it wasn’t possible for us to achieve it. Now stop and read that last sentence again please! Jesus is telling us that we all have the direct influence within us to rein in and exercise restraint over fear…but it’s contingent on our trust in Him. In other words, a troubled heart is an unbelieving heart. So our success over doubt and fear lies largely in how we build our faith in God. And this confidence in Him only comes by reading the Bible and praying daily…for you can never fully trust a stranger.
In all our lives we will go through darkness…not the kind caused by sin or disobedience…but darkness that comes out of fear and confusion in this broken world. But while we are crouched down in the Valley of Despair, we need to listen…for the Lord will be speaking life-bringing truths into our soul. Precious truths of encouragement, and exhortation that will sustain us during illness, pain, and loss. Isaiah 50:10 tells us, ” Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”