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Waves of Doubt

November 5th, 2009

“A doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea . . driven and tossed.” James 1:6 NLT

“When you are unsure, you will battle with doubts; everyone does!”

My thoughts today are about “waves of doubt.”

If you are waiting until you are sure about everything that comes up, you will be waiting a long time and wasting a lot of time meanwhile. Life does not always allow you the option of waiting to be sure. Of course, you should be as sure as you can about the decisions you have to make, and should strive to be wise in your considerations and choices before doing so. But however careful you try to be, you will not always be absolutely sure. No one ever is.

I went to college near Carmel, California, on the Monterrey Bay. I loved driving along Seventeen Mile Drive beside Pebble Beach and watching the beauty and power of the waves crashing and splashing against the rocks. The waves were exhilarating to watch, but dangerous if caught by their force and carried against those outcroppings of rocks; those same waves would have become dangerous and hurtful.

When you are unsure, you will battle with doubts; everyone does! Doubts can be like those waves; they come in waves, rushing and crashing in every direction, and can leave you feeling bewildered and battered emotionally and spiritually – unsure and afraid to make any decision. You know how it works; you wrestle with the doubts until you finally settle on a course of action, and just before committing to that the waves of doubt return. Here’s how the Bible describes this, “They can’t make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything they do.” James 1:8 NLT. That’s miserable to be caught betwixt and between.

Maybe you have seen friends making important decisions without any deliberation at all. If you have seen decisions made rashly and with little forethought, and you saw or experienced the frequent calamity that results, you may be afraid to make a decision, even when you need to do so. Their lives teach that it is too easy to get it wrong.

Or maybe you are affected by seeing firsthand someone near or dear to you who tried too hard to make the right decision until finally becoming paralyzed with indecision, unsure and unable to make up their mind on even the simplest of things. You may have assumed from them that it is too hard to get it right. Every decision may not be a right decision, but no decision is often a wrong one. At least, an honest mistake is an opportunity to learn something for the next time.

There’s another possibility. Maybe poor decisions in the past – yours or others’ – have sabotaged confidence in your ability to get it right. This is my practical advice. Develop trustworthy friends from whom you can seek counsel and perspective. Be a student of the Bible and learn from the lives of others. And most importantly, allow yourself time to seek God, waiting for His wisdom and guidance. Isaiah 30:21 NIV. You will be wiser than you thought you’d be. See James 1:5-6 NLT.

My prayer for you today is: trust your heart and listen to God’s voice there.

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