Pastor Mark's Reflections

Faith, Doubt, and Asking of God


lighthouseThis video was taken in Holland on the western shoreline of Michigan. It reminds me of James 1:2-8. “Consider it pure joy my friends whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Life throws us huge challenges. And the winds of tragedy, trauma, and depression blow from time to time. A lighthouse is an amazing example of perseverance. Day after day, month after month, year after year, the waves buffet the lighthouse.

According to James, trials produce perseverance… ‘Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” So now James is saying not only do trials produce perseverance – they develop maturity and completeness. This is a mystery. Yet a significant truth for a follower of Jesus.

The Gospel doesn’t promise that everything will be smooth sailing in life here on earth. The Gospel does promise that everything will be alright in the end and that his presence will be with us every step of the way to the end. Whether times are tough or times are not as tough, we are able to stand because of Jesus promises and presence with us.

What else does James say? He goes on from there to say, “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.”

This is interesting. When the waves of life do get rough – and they will from time to time, we are to ask God for what we need. Trust. Have faith. If we don’t have faith and trust in his promises and believe in his power and presence with us, we are like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. Instead of being like a lighthouse that stands in the storm, we are like a bobber blown every which way on the surface of a wave.

There is a famous picture taken of a man standing on one side of a lighthouse as a monstrous wave seems to swallow the lighthouse. Its the La Jument Lighthouse that guards the Iroise Sea, one of the most dangerous waters on earth. A photographer Jean Guichard shot this from a helicopter, of the lighthouse keeper Theodore Malgorn on December 21, 1989. Its a good analogy of God with us in the middle of the storms of life. We can ride it out with God’s presence with us and with faith in his promises.

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