Be Worried If you have to
I used to tell myself that worry was a lack of faith.
I was wrong!
Worry, Doubt, and Fear can help to strengthen a genuine faith
In unison, much of the world is worried about the future. Will my job be there for me when we're released from this quarantine? How will the world change? Will things ever be the same?
Today we definitely live in uncertain times. Worry may lead to doubt, and doubt may herd you toward questions, maybe those questions may lead you to fall in the chasm of fear, you should not be ashamed.
As a Christian, I've always been taught to not doubt. I've told myself that worrying is a lack of faith in God's ability. I've been instructed to stay far away from doubt. But I think I was wrong. Today I believe that faith has a close relationship with doubt. Worry and fear are always nearby.
In our Bible we find the warning, "do not fear" in some capacity over 365 times. It's almost as if we serve a God who understands what it is like to live here and understands that fear is going to happen. There is so much more to fear than fear itself. If fear was not legitimate, the bible would have no need to repeat itself so many times.
I wonder how much shorter of a read the Bible would be if it just said "do not fear" once?
Fear, doubt, and worry lead to questions. Questions give you a deeper understanding of what you are in fear of. Doubt fear and worry can give you a mature appreciation of God's blessings. A child does not think about, appreciate, or understand the struggles that a parent goes through, that food just better be on that table.
An understanding of the relationship of faith with doubt fear and worry is essential because there is no stopping them. We are going to doubt, we are going to fear, we are going to worry, whether you want to admit it to yourself or not. Understanding can allow this inevitable trifecta to build your faith rather than destroy it.
Any good teacher will ask you questions that whisk you away into thought and Jesus was no exception. When Peter was invited to walk on water (Matthew 14:29), he failed and fell. But it was an opportunity and a teaching moment for Jesus. "You have so little faith," He said, "Why did you doubt me?"
That question probably delved deep into introspection. "Why did I doubt?" I can imagine Peter sitting deep in thought drying in the boat. Peter had to answer the question himself.
Until you have doubted, faith is just dogma, and cannot be real. Faith that is not yet questioned is strengthened by the resistance. If you do not question your faith, eventually someone else may, and if you've never admitted those questions to yourself, you'll have no answer.
I questioned. "Is God even real?" What's the point?" "Is Christianity even for me?" And from my own experience I had to find the answers to these questions. YES, God is real. The point is for me to grow into perfection and proximity to God. Yes, Jesus is for you, but maybe you should reanalyze some practices.
Doubt strengthens faith if you let it. If you allow yourself to ask the questions. Do not become a fanatic with unchallenged beliefs. Let yourself doubt. The truth does not fear questions!
Sometimes, I do not know everything. Please don't tell my wife or my children. My wife might already know.
Sometimes I panic. I make rash decisions. I fear for the future. In fact, I'm doing that right now. But worry is not inherently evil. Worry is just admitting to yourself that concerns are legitimate. It is a human feeling to wonder, "what do I do if...?"
Worrying about a problem does little to solve it. In fact, worry can kill us. We can stress and DIE. That's why Jesus tells us, "Don't you worry, about a thing, coz every little thing is gonna be alright". I'm paraphrasing from Matthew 6:24-34.
I used to tell myself that worry was a disconnection with God. I thought that if I had enough faith that I wouldn't be worried. Today I realize I was wrong. Faith does not mean a lack of worry. A lack of worry is ignorant and does not demonstrate awareness.
The Bible does say worry is an act of unbelievers, but it says that being overcome by worry is an act of unbelief. When you have no nope you can easily be consumed by worry. But because you serve God you can worry healthily.
Worry is an opportunity to grow your faith and grow your relationship with God. Admit your concerns to God. Invite God to lead your decision making. Share your concerns in prayer. You do not have to worry alone.
Faith can be strengthened when you invite God into your worry. God wants to hear all your concerns, you may even overhear divinity laughing at your absurdity. The tempest of your worries will not move or offend God. Your worry does not offend God.
The bible says don't worry (Matthew 6:25) but in my experience you will worry. Jesus connects with everyone when he says don't worry because He knows that you are worrying right now. But it is addressed because Jesus reassures us, God knows.
The Bible repeats do not fear hundreds of times because God knows that we are doing exactly what he told us not to do. However, the Bible also tells us to fear God. To me this implies a healthy component to fear.
While we should not be paralyzed in fear of things we are instructed to fear God. This is not an instruction to some theophobia, fear of God or religion, but a positive fear. We are instructed to understand that our God is bigger than any problem that we may face.
We do not react to problems or situations in fear of them, but we react to a God that is bigger and more powerful than whatever we face.
However, God is not seen, tangible or proven. When we amplify tangible solutions do we diminish the power of God in our minds? When we submit ourselves as slaves to Money (Matthew6:24) or become dependent on a job or career for income do we empower tangible things as our master?
Jesus questions us as to why we doubt. The bible says not to fear and Jesus says not to worry but we continue to do so. We continue to possess an immature faith. I've seen very few mountains relocated.
Should we grow our dependence on service to God, and lessen our service and dependence to our careers? This would be uncomfortable and would definitely encourage doubt and worry and fear, but would it grow our faith.
Jesus invited Peter out onto the water, knowing he would fall. Jesus invited Peter to challenge his fears step out in spite of worries and to challenge his doubts. Can these natural human emotions grow our faith? What do you think?
Can we stop referring to the time of trouble as the future tense? Trouble is here, and comfortable. This trouble will increase our fear, increase our worry, and increase our don't but if we allow it to, it can increase our faith.
But admit it to yourself. You are afraid. The questions that linger in your mind are legitimate and deserve answers, Those what-if scenarios are a possibility. Faith in God, does not mean do nothing. Sometimes we need to prepare, sometimes we need to cry, but always we need to pray.
Now that we are here this time of trouble that we have feared for generations is just cross-fit for faith. My faith will emerge stronger, and yours can too. We can become faith monsters with just a mustard seed of faith. Mountains will fear me!
I challenge you to worry, doubt, and fear. I challenge you to challenge God because God understands it all. But I challenge you to be obedient, and when it's time to move, move confidently, because people are watching you.