“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:10,11)
My daughter is an expert question asker. Because I am often short on patience with her curiosity, my daily retort is “Can we do this without asking a million questions, please?” One day while stuck in traffic, the sight of a cement truck brought about an unbearable number of questions. After answering at least ten of them in my kind and patient voice, I let out a huge sigh. She sensed my frustration and said, “Okay, Mommy. I won’t ask a million questions.”
There is a striking parallel between a child’s inquisitive mind and our relationship with God. As we experience trouble and stress in our lives, we often become expert question askers: How could you let this happen? Why now, Lord? Why me? We can be relentless and demanding as we interrogate God, imploring him to fix our problems—NOW! God has the perfect answer to our incessant questioning. In Psalm 46:10, God tells us to be still—two simple words that have the power to comfort even the most anxiety-ridden question asker among us. Be still—two simple words remind us that God has our future in the palm of his almighty hand.
Jesus also used those two words to rebuke the wind and the waves of the Sea of Galilee. He was in a boat with his disciples when a sudden storm arose, a storm that was so severe that his seaworthy disciples feared for their very lives. But Jesus slept. When his frightened disciples awakened him, he called out those two powerful words and calmed the sea. He also rebuked his disciples:
Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith? (Mark 4:40)
The disciples’ faith needed strengthening. Jesus knew the human nature of his disciples. He knew that even after witnessing countless displays of his almighty power, when the storms of life hit, their faith would still be shaken.
We are no more than doubting, scared disciples ourselves. We stand firmly on the rock of faith until the storms of life hit. Then we doubt and question the Lord of lords and the King of kings. We forget the long history of crises that he has guided us through and allow panic to rise in our throats. We develop stress-induced amnesia, forgetting how all-encompassing the power of our God is.
That brings us to the striking difference between our questioning and that of a preschooler—the existence of childlike faith. If I had told my daughter that the cement truck was sent by the president of the United States to pave our way to the grocery store, she would have believed me. A child takes what we say at face value and doesn’t question it. Adults are often skeptical and demand proof before belief. Skepticism gives way to doubt that is really nothing more than our archnemesis, the devil, whispering in our ears, “Did God really say that he loves you?” With the seeds of doubt that the devil sows, he seeks to tear us from the palm of our Savior’s hand. When we doubt, the devil wins. He succeeds in taking our eyes off of the one, the only one, who truly has the power to help us through any catastrophe.
When doubt creeps up our doorstep, we can combat it with the Word of God and its promises. One great doubtfighting section of Scripture is Mark 9:14-27. The father of a boy tormented by an evil spirit pleaded in desperation to Jesus:
“If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:22-24)
Lord, I believe! Help me overcome my unbelief! We can use these words daily to call to Jesus for help when we are tempted. We can cry out loud, “Go, Satan! Jesus is Lord” to tell the devil and doubt to go away from us. Through Christ, we are victors, not victims! God proved his love for us by sending his own Son to die on Calvary. The deal was sealed when Jesus rose triumphantly and defeated death, the devil, and the world on Easter Sunday. Through Christ, this ultimate victory is ours!
When the storms of life hit and the questioning begins, take a moment in God’s Word to be still and listen to his beautiful promises. Although these promises don’t cure every heartache, they do fill our broken hearts with the hope of a perfect, stormless eternity. We can almost hear God say, “Can we do this without asking a million questions, please? Don’t worry! I’ve got your back.”
And then we can say, “Okay, God. I won’t ask a million questions.”
Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive me for the times I question your ways and doubt your promises. Through all of life’s storms, give me peace and enable me to humbly submit to your will for my life. No matter what the circumstances, no matter how severe the storm, bless me with childlike faith to trust you fully. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Strength from God’s Word: Read Matthew 14:22-34. Why did Peter doubt Jesus? Where did Peter go for help? Think of a time in your life when you doubted. How can you combat the devil when he is on the prowl, tempting you to doubt and question God?