Have you ever struggled with something, prayed to God about it, then spent the next couple of days agonizing? Like the wind tossing a beach ball this way and that across the sandy shore, you went back and forth, wondering whether you should do this or that, or when God would answer, or if He’d already spoken and you just hadn’t heard.
That’s what today’s verse, from James, reminds me of—and believe me, I’ve been there, too.
The apostle James offered words of encouragement and support to the early church, which struggled with trials, hardships, and temptations, as well as much persecution and division. He said if anyone needs help, all we need to do is ask God, who always gives generously out of His great love for us.
But when you ask, James cautioned, “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” (James 1:6-8 NIV).
His words are clear: Ask and believe. Ask, and put it at rest. Ask, and let your doubts fade away into nothing.
When we ask God with faith, He will provide. But if our faith is lacking, if we have no trust and allow our will and minds to be battered about like a wave of the sea, guess what we should expect?
That’s right: Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
After all, faith is everything! In Hebrews 11:1, it says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 21:22, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus urged us to have faith in God.
“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours’” (Mark 11:22-24).
Why have faith? It works—and besides, God told us to. We should listen and obey.
But if that’s not enough, here are three more reasons:
- It gives us strength. For example, David was a small guy when he went up against Goliath, but his faith in God gave him superhuman strength to defeat the giant and win the battle (1 Samuel 17).
- It makes us brave. When we believe, we understand that things might hurt our all-too-temporary earthly bodies, but nothing can touch our eternal soul. We’re guaranteed a future and a happily-ever-after with God.
- It makes us stable. Unlike the unsteady battered waves, faith makes us strong, stable, steady, and true. Daniel stayed steady in his faith and prevailed, even though the king didn’t much like his allegiance to God as Lord over him. Eventually, his steadfast ways won him respect, and Daniel was promoted to the royal court and prospered (Daniel 6:28).
There’s a phrase: “Give it to God.” I find those simple words helpful to remember, for they cement the sort of faith I need to have. Bring your struggles to the cross, lay it at God’s feet, and go, resting in the peace that God will handle it.
He’s got you. Just trust.