Doubts

The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.  At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

7“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.  Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.  So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.  So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.  Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.  And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”  Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream.

He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.

  • 1 Kings 3:4-15

 

“Receiving wisdom is a twofold process: you ask for wisdom and then you ask God to give you courage to follow through on what He reveals to you.  When you ask for wisdom, ask God to reveal the next step, and when He does, take that step in faith – even if it doesn’t seem logical.  Show the Lord – and yourself – that you are not a doubting man.  Then you can be sure that God will light your path.”

  • Jason Cruise, The Man Minute

 

 

In the ‘man minute’ entitled “Don’t Bet on it”, Jason Cruise discusses the double edged promise of James 1.  We can be granted wisdom, but if we doubt, then we are double-minded and we cannot be trusted.

 

I recently told our minister that I was at a ‘crisis of faith.’  We were having a hard time balancing the monthly budget, and the needed trips during this year had essentially drained savings.  My blog is not monetized and I have no intention of it being monetized, but sometimes, you wonder from where will there be another windfall.  I wasn’t asking, nor did I receive, a monetary handout.  The minister is wise, and knew what to do.  What I got was a prayer, a smile of understanding, and a hug.  All three wondrous gifts were accepted with Joy.

 

I was being tempted to be double-minded.  James 1:5-8 states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

 

The “all they do” is what drives the point home to me.  Wait.  A momentary wishy-washy response and I can’t be trusted in all that I do?  If I doubt God, I am not trusting fully in God.  I’m suspecting God of not being faithful.  Isn’t that from where worry comes?  A. W. Tozer wrote, “To fear and not be afraid, that is the paradox of faith.”

 

We are commanded to fear God.  We are also to trust God.

 

Some of us have gods that are so small, they can’t be trusted.  Some of us have gods that are so busy, we don’t think that he has time for us.  Some of us have gods that are so weak, we fear tomorrow.  No, we fear, right now.

 

Our tendency to take over control of our life is a defiance to some small god that didn’t come through for us.  But we created that god rather than trusting in the true God of the Universe who is all knowing, all powerful, and loved us while we were yet sinners.  If God loved us then, when we were filthy in our sin, why doubt?  Now, once we have accepted His Son as our Lord and the controller of our lives, God sees only the good and the potential in us.

 

Does God need me?  No.  Does God need me to write and share what God has done for me?  No.

 

But God loves me, and he sent me and my family on a wild ride.  I write from those experiences.

 

A thought just popped into my head as I wrote the previous paragraph.  The following story is God’s detour, much better than what I was thinking.  My thought?  What was I doing 40 years ago, about now?  I had just gotten my ‘paystub’ from the Army for the month of November.  It was printed in red ink instead of green ink.  I asked my fellow lieutenants.  They had no clue what that meant.  The company’s operations sergeant, who later became my partner on a few ‘missions’, told me that I owed the Army in the amount printed at the bottom of the form.  I read the amount, about a month and a half more pay, after not getting paid that month.  I’d been paid too much.  Until I had worked off my debt, I would not get paid, not even one penny.

 

A flood of thoughts rushed into my head.  This was the Christmas season!  I can’t afford this!  I had a son who was a year and a half.  He needed to be showered with gifts.  Forget the gifts!  Where would I find money to buy food?  Then, finally, how could I have been overpaid, at all?

 

Some people in the military have certain privileges.  They get promotions before others do.

 

It turned out that the Army realized that I had been promoted to First Lieutenant two weeks too early and in the Army’s utmost efficiency and careful attention to detail, I had been demoted (period) and I owed the Army six months of the difference in pay.  Six months?  Not two weeks?  Yes, they demoted me, but failed to promote me two weeks later, on the correct date.  Oops.  Oops?!?!?  The major at Brigade headquarters that handled my case laughed (Yes, he smiled and actually laughed, right in my face.) about how it would all be taken care of.  It was a simple clerical error.  Nothing to worry about.  But it might take a while.  Within a couple of months.  Months?!?!  We didn’t have enough in the credit union for groceries.

 

A gear shifted in my head.  I went into ‘protect the family’ mode.  There was no time for fear, or doubt.  I called my father-in-law collect, something I had been told to never do.  In those days, the calls across the Atlantic were very expensive.  A miracle occurred.  He accepted the charges.  (Does calling collect still exist?  If not, it’s when you call the operator and have the receiving person pay for the bill.  But they can reject the call if they don’t want to pay.)  I asked for money to be transferred from our savings to our checking, before the days that credit unions did that automatically.  He was president of the credit union.  He could make that happen.  We would have enough for food and gasoline for at least a month.  After the first month, it was in God’s hands.  If the clerical error wasn’t fixed, it would be no pay for a month and then very little pay the next month.  A portion of Christmas would have to wait.  My wife agreed, but secretly, her hair was falling out, literally.

 

We had a lot already purchased for Christmas by then.  The Post Exchange had a toy section in October, just for early Christmas buying.  We maintained the habit even after I got out of the Army.  That avoids the incremental (unnoticed) rise in prices during October and November to make the Black Friday prices look like bargains.  (Did I actually type those words out loud?)

 

I prayed, but mostly I was praying a Psalm 13 prayer.  God, where are you?

 

God answered.  The clerical issue was fixed a few days before Christmas, a couple of weeks, not a couple of months.  I got a deposit in our credit union account in time to do some last minute Christmas purchases in the German stores near where we lived, including chocolate ornaments for the Christmas tree.  The PX was empty by this point.  It was frantic, but it also carried with it a special portion of Joy.

 

It was a Joy in not doubting God and trusting in Him with all my heart.

 

Don’t be double-minded.  Don’t doubt.  If you are one of God’s children, He knows what you need, when you need it.  If you aren’t, you only have to ask Him to come into your heart and trust Him forever.

 

But God knew what I needed, and part of what I needed was reassurance that God would be there for me and God was in control.  After all, the reason for celebrating Christmas is that God came to earth to be with us.  He arrived while angels sang to the shepherds.  Why not have God reveal Himself again, to me 40 years ago, to you today, just in time for Christmas.

 

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