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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Strongest Faith, That’s a Doubting Faith

My wife’s often said, “Faith’s like a muscle, it only grows when you use it.”
And that’s what significant tests of faith are for: our growth.  Only if our faith is stretched, even pushed to overload, even over the edge into a beckoning gulf, will it grow… if we don’t ultimately give up.
True faith cannot give up over the longer run.
True faith learns to press in
when life’s too tough to live.
The strongest faith is a doubting faith, because a doubter who doesn’t give up shows definitive faithfulness.  The doubter’s attitude may stink, they may plummet in lament, they may lack gratitude, they may chuck hissy fits within, but they’re also in elite biblical company: Moses, Job, David, Jeremiah, etc. — and, at times, the whole nation of Israel.
What the doubter lacks in attitude they make up in behaviour.  They may not want to step in faith, but, provided they do step in faith, they demonstrate faith — the most compelling kind.
In going against their own will in favour of doing God’s will, they show whose allegiance is theirs; God’s, and not their own.
The doubter is a light on a hill
to all who watch their lives.
They epitomise strength in weakness, and
they show everyone Christ is a compelling companion,
best of all, in the midst of life’s fire storms.
The doubter, at their weakest ebb, is positioned to be encouraged.  And that’s where, when God ultimately speaks, it affirms His Presence, which engorges a doubter’s faith, making it realer and stronger.
Faith cannot grow unless we’re pushed past the end of ourselves, over into the beckoning gulf, where we find ourselves sinking in desperately trying to swim.
There, as the circumstances of our lives lap like waves over our head, is our greatest moment of faith, even as we acknowledge we’re eroded by doubt.
When faith is stretched as circumstances conspire, attitudes are bound to waver, and yet there’s still little to worry about, even as doubts encircle our lives like a white pointer shark out to make us its meal.
It doesn’t matter how we feel.  In the context of faith, it’s what we do that counts.  And that’s the encouragement we need when our faith is floundering, stretched to breaking point through circumstances that conspire.
God’s greatest encouragement abides in our weakness,
that in our doubtingest faith is His strength for our growth.
The object of faith is growth over the lifespan.  Faith only grows when it’s tested.  Testing requires circumstances that cause doubt.  Doubt is a seminary for faith development.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.

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