September 1, 2016
READ: Matthew 14:22-36
Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you (v.28).
A non-Christian organization has established a hotline for people who are struggling with spiritual doubts. While the exact goal of this call-in center seems a bit fuzzy, its founder made an interesting observation: “Many people feel isolated or rejected when they begin to ask questions. ...If churches suddenly started welcoming doubters [for food and fellowship], the hotline project wouldn’t be necessary.”
Jesus welcomed Peter to come closer to Him during a moment of intense doubt. The disciples were in a boat far from shore during a violent storm. They saw a figure walking on the water, but this defied all the laws of nature and they assumed they were seeing a ghost (Matthew 14:26).
The person walking toward them was Jesus, and He identified Himself so they wouldn’t be afraid. Peter, still doubting, yelled, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you” (v.28). Jesus said, “Yes, come” (v.29).
Peter’s trust in Christ allowed him to experience a miracle! He literally walked by faith rather than by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Doubt followed closely behind, however. Peter panicked and started to sink. Immediately, Jesus helped him. Even though He rebuked Peter for his lack of faith, Jesus didn’t stalk off in the other direction. He remained available and asked, “Why did you doubt me?” (Matthew 14:31).
When we experience doubt or when other people express their doubts to us, it’s not wrong to ask questions and investigate the issue. What’s at the root of the doubt? Why has the doubt surged in this particular season of life? What aspect of faith poses the greatest challenge?
God can handle our doubts. Let’s bring them to Him and experience His presence and power today.
—Jennifer Benson Schuldt
365-day plan: Mark 11:20-33
Read Hosea 13:4, Matthew 1:23, and John 20:31 to see some faith-building evidences of God’s care for us throughout history.
Is there a difference between doubting something is true and being afraid something isn’t true? How can you seek the counsel of God and godly friends when you face troubling doubts about your faith?