As a writer, I often find myself writing about things I myself aim to do or am trying to emulate in my daily walk with Christ. However, yesterday was my birthday and if I’m being totally transparent, it was a day filled with the paradox between my belief and doubt. This enigma permeated and consumed my every thought, as I anxiously wrestled with my finite understanding of God’s infinite plan. This morning, I woke up early, feeling much like Jacob did after he had wrestled with God all night long, much like how C. S. Lewis illustrates, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, He speaks in our conscience, but He shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
For me, yesterday’s wrestling match revolved around whether I was one day closer to reaching my dream, something I believe God has called me to do, or whether I was one day closer to my dream dying. It ultimately came down to whether I believed or doubted God. For Jacob to find the blessing he desperately wanted, it took him getting to a place of brokenness for the Lord bless him. It can be very easy to resist God’s breaking process and grow bitter, as we rely on our own strength, but the choice always comes down to either submitting to Him and being blessed, or fighting Him and suffering the consequences. I know of what I speak and I promise you’ll never win if you choose to wrestle with God.
I think waiting has been the hardest part. I know God’s plan for my life is better than anything I could ever hope for, but the time spent waiting is the worst! In these seasons, especially if we aren’t anchored to the Lord, thoughts begin to surface like, “Did God really say that?” As time goes by, waiting on the Lord to fulfill His promises, it can feel fleeting, like sand coursing through your hand, unable to stop it from slipping away. Another common practice that arises is dwelling on our disappointment during these trying seasons, but this only tries to rob us of our joy, as we mourn the unknown or our earthly desires.
A lesson I’ve often learned the hard way in life is our greatest victories come out of the ashes of our greatest defeats. My pride often blinded me of this truth and my need for God and it would only be in times of complete brokenness that I would realize my true dependence upon God. I recently heard something that has stuck with me, “In every challenge, there are two rivals: belief and doubt. Doubt has a bigger team, and belief is out numbered, but never out worked and when the score is settled, belief rises to the top.” My belief is anchored in the love the Lord has for me. Nothing can separate us from this love and it is what compels and motivates His every action.
Our belief leads to action, but our doubt often leads to inaction or sometimes the wrong action. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts; Your thoughts become your words; Your words become your actions; Your actions become your habits; Your habits become your values; and Your values become your destiny.” One’s belief cycle drives their thoughts, words, actions, habits, and values. If we lose our belief or chose to go through life in disbelief of God’s plan for our lives, we are isolating ourselves from the only One who can sustain us and give us hope in this fallen world.
This is a tough pill to swallow for many, but the sooner we recognize our dependence upon God and are able to cling to Him in our brokenness, the sooner He will come alongside us, to bless us and give us a new name for the work he is calling us to do. For me, I now find myself much like Jacob, limping towards Esau in complete obedience to God, praying He will welcome me back as a brother. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was so right when he said, “Only he who believes is obedient and only he who is obedient, believes.” Ultimately, it is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey, (Soren Kierkegaard) so believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts. (F. F. Bosworth)