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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Why do we doubt?
Date Posted: September 21, 2014
There was a story told long ago about a certain wealthy man. He had so much
wealth he struggled to remain alive because he did not want to leave behind his wealth when he died. When that fatal day finally came, the angels came for him, and he begged and pleaded to bring at least some of his gold with him to Heaven. The angel tried to explain to him that naked he came into the world and naked he would leave. But, his gold had never let him down. He had always been able to open locked doors with it and to build bridges to foreign lands with it. So after vigorous pleading, the angels allowed him to pack a satchel with one brick of gold to take with him. At the pearly gates, St. Peter took the man’s satchel and said, “What have we here?” The man replied that he needed to bring something from earth that had never failed to help him in just about any situation. So Peter opened the bag and peered into its depths, then chuckled and said, “Yes, but little man, why did you bring pavement?”

As humans, we put our faith and trust in things that we never realize we are trusting. I sit in a chair and know it will keep me from falling on the floor. I know the sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening. I turn the key in the ignition of my car and expect it to start the engine and for it to take me where I need to go. I don’t have quite as much faith in computers as some of them have failed me more often than my car.

There is the key. My car, actually, has never failed me, the one I have now. Other cars failed me and one in particular I never had faith it would start. I would always pray and hope it would start every time I slid into the driver’s seat.

We often smile and shake our heads and say, ‘How could the disciples not have had faith?’ Jesus spoke and the storm calmed, He reached out and plucked Peter from sinking in the water, He cast out the demon from the boy and the boy was well ever after that, He fed the five thousand and the four thousand with baskets of food left over. When God shows Himself in that glory, how could anyone not have faith? Jesus told them what was going to happen, and yet they still scattered to the winds with the Sanhedrin guards came for Him in the garden. How could that happen?

How indeed?

God has never failed me, and I know He has never failed you.

Why is it, then, we sometimes have doubts? Is it our point of reference like that wealthy man? We live so heartily in this physical world that we have forgotten how great God is?

People have failed me; even the ones that I never expected much from, failed me. It is not their fault because they are human with human natures that are imperfect. We do not have the capability to be perfect within our flesh. That is impossible. God, on the other hand, is perfect and infallible.
But, we gauge God through our human-ness. We think with our finite minds and see God with our imperfect vision forgetting that we are made in God’s image (not the other way around) and not in His perfect nature and character. We have the potential and we will be perfect one day, just not today. Therefore, we cannot see all that God sees or know all that God knows and that makes for an imperfect understanding of our own situations and future. It also makes for a very imperfect and perhaps quite wobbly faith.

Just as a three-legged stool wobbles if all three legs are not of even length, faith and trust wobble when not of even strength. Wobbly faith makes repentance and forgiveness difficult to accomplish because trust is the stabilizing leg in faith. We must trust God that obeying Him will be in our own best interest. Obedience means forgiving the unforgivable, and repenting all our sins, even the secret sins we harbor in the wrinkles of our heart.

Here is the tricky part. God is okay with the wobbly faith up to a point. There comes a time when God expects trust no matter the cost, and trusting Him can be quite costly from a secular worldly point of view. Yet, it is our weakness that glorifies His strength. Our trust magnifies His name. Our frailties in concert with God’s power make the angels marvel.

God has never failed me.

I have to go with what I know, regardless of the feelings of doubt, because those feelings are so fleeting. So in the famous words of a song popular in the 1970s, I put my hand in the hand of the Man that stilled the water because He kept His promises no matter the cost. How, indeed, can my faith falter?

Faith is the pivotal point in forgiveness. Like trust, our faith is not based on feelings, but on our past experience with God our Father. We know because He keeps all His promises, He will take care of us. Understanding that, we can hope for vindication from false testimony, but it may not happen until all the dust clears from our earthly clothes falling from our glorified bodies. By then, it will all be small stuff. Trying to understand that it is all small stuff now is harder to grasp.

My sweet friend doesn’t mind me using her dream as an illustration for my point. She dreamed she walked into a house that was filled with all manner of buzzing saws and jagged-edged, sharp instruments designed to slice easily through wood and steel, only this house was filled with children of all ages. They were running and playing. Every so often a child would come too close to the saw or knife and would lose an arm or leg, and some even lost their heads. She was horrified and instantly knelt at the foot of the throne.

“God why are you allowing such harm come to your children? How can you be so cruel?”

“My dear beloved,” God replied to her, “these children are suffering no permanent harm. I can heal them instantly. When they come to me, their bodies are renewed into perfect form, and they draw upon My strength for their health. This earthly walk is temporary, and the earthly life is temporal. Live it, enjoy it, but there is so much more, and so much better waiting for you with Me. Today you walk in shifting shadows of all that is to come.”

All the sword stabs, all the knife slices, and the bone crushing saws are truly nothing when compared to eternity. God will restore His children to newness of life in glorified bodies that have no blemish, scars, or wrinkles. It hurts now, but will merely seem like shadows when we bask in God’s glory in the throne room of Heaven.

When facing doubt, we should always consider the eternity factor.

(reprint from an earlier column)

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and
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