Since we live near Lake Ontario, we take the opportunity to spend at least one summer evening walking along the lake shore each year. The water is always mesmerizing whether it be placid with tranquility or violent with raging waves. Recently while lingering at the water’s edge, I realized how I encounter both peaceful and turbulent times regarding my faith in Christ. When being confronted with a difficult situation, my faith may waver like the waves of the lake while at other times my faith is unmoved like a serene body of water. Sometimes I feel like the little child Paul describes in Ephesians 3:14 “who is tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.” At other times I identify with John’s description in Revelation 4:6, “Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.”
Waves in the water and wavering in my faith can both be dangerous. Water waves arise when strong winds cause turbulence on the lake. Wavering of my faith can occur when doubts arise and cause turbulence within my mind. I am reminded of what James has to say about doubts in the first chapter of his book.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God,
who gives to all generously and without reproach,
and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith
without any doubting, for the one who doubts
is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by
the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will
receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded
man, unstable in all his ways.
While looking at the lake water, I see the little water swells that have the potential of becoming larger whitecaps if they are not thrown back into the larger body of water. Small doubts regarding my faith also have the ability to toss my faith into turmoil if I do not prayerfully ask for God’s guidance and throw my waverings back into His sea of godly wisdom. However, I cannot except the Lord to calm the raging sea within me unless I have no doubts about His ability to help me with my doubts. There are times when I must call out to the Lord with the words of Mark 9:24, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” To believe and not doubt means not only believing in the existence of God but also believing in His loving care.
And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God.
“Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be
taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt
in his heart, but believes that what he says is going
to happen, it will be granted him. “Therefore I say to you,
all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you
have received them, and they will be granted you.
When walking on the pier that extends into the lake, I sometimes feel a spray of water from the waves upon my feet. My feet get wet but the rest of me stays dry. A similar thing can happen regarding my faith in God. A few droplets of doubt may wash over my mind but if I sincerely believe what God says in His Word, these little doubt drops cannot penetrate my heart. I need to remind myself that faith does not always mean that I understand everything that is happening, but rather it means that I trust and believe in the Lord. Although I may not understand, it does not necessarily mean that I doubt. To stabilize my wavering or vacillating mind, I must commit myself wholeheartedly to God.
yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver
in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God,
and being fully assured that what God had promised,
He was able also to perform.
As my waverings and doubts diminish, my life and faith resemble the lake when it is calm. I can see my reflection upon the water, when the lake is smooth. Similarly, when my faith is untroubled my life reflects the image of God. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” As my faith deepens, my life reflects more of the glory of God
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens.
I have discovered similarities between my walking along Lake Ontario and my daily walking by faith. Lake Ontario can be tranquil or it can be turbulent. Likewise, I also encounter both peaceful and tumultuous times regarding my faith in God. There are waves and waverings. There can be a glassy sea and a glorious peace. I enjoy this summer season when I can walk along the lake and be encouraged in my walk of faith at the same time.