In his post this Monday to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote – “Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.” (Frederick Buechner) Pastor Freed went on to say that even he has doubts from time to time; however, he has found those doubts to be things that actually strengthen his faith.
How can having doubts about your faith make it stronger? I think the answer is that doubts throw you off-center; they trouble your mind and spin you away from the beliefs that your faith is based upon. Doubts are distractions and sometimes major events in one’s life can cause very big doubts and major distraction from our beliefs. This is especially true when we lose a loved one or when a major event causes seemingly catastrophic disruption to our lives. Think of the doubts that people in Ukraine must be gong through right now. Many times those doubts center around the thought “How could God let this happen to me?”
So, there you are, spinning further and further away from your faith. How do you reestablish your faith, re-center yourself and regain control? How do you actually make your faith stronger in the face of doubts? I think Jack answered that question in an earlier post using a quote sent to him by one of his followers –
“Your life becomes a masterpiece when you learn to master peace.” (Sent by RVB)
We say “peace be with you” often in church or maybe “be at peace” during a conversation, but how does one master peace? It all gets back to faith. The reason that one has ants in their pants is their inability to control things, to solve the unsolvable problem or face the reality of a temporary failure. We spend sleepless nights agonizing over the “coulda, woulda, shouldas” of life instead of accepting what has happened and moving on.
The quickest way to move on is to acknowledge your faith and accept that you need God’s help. I use the little prayer, “Not my will but thy will be done”, but you can use a prayer as simple as, “Yo God, a little help here.” The point is not to create long, flowery prayers, but to surrender your life to God and let him take control. Giving up the futile fight to control everything puts you back in control of your life by putting you back in control of how you react to the events of life. It puts you at peace.
So, Pastor Freed is right that those doubts actually strengthen one’s faith by forcing us to keep returning to that faith as the best and only answer to life’s challenges. If your life feels like you are standing on an anthill, circle back to your faith and ask God for his help.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:7)