Pastor’s Corner-Rev. Mark Keefer, pastor, Garwin United Methodist Church Garwin, Iowa
February 14, 2014
C.S. Lewis wrote a satirical book titled, “The Screwtape Letters.” As satire would indicate, there is humor in exposing the propensities of the human ego, even when it hurts. The book tells the story of a demon named Screwtape who is mentoring his young nephew in an effort to undermine the faith in an individual who could be any one of us. One of the tools proposed by Uncle Screwtape for use by his young nephew, is doubt. Has doubt ever entered your thoughts? It happens to me too often. I find myself anxious over what steps I need to take to resolve a situation. I find comfort by considering all the friends and family over the years who have shared their times of doubt. As surely as it happens to all people, even we Christians who have given our trust to God have our times of doubt. A problem presents itself in our lives, and we pray about it. But the solution fell through. We’ve obeyed God, but our situation seems to get worse. We start to question our belief in His promises. At the end of the 28th chapter of Matthew, we read the words that Christ promises to be with us always, to the end of time. That sure sounds comforting and reassuring, but what happens when that prayer, that plea for help and guidance, doesn’t get answered? Is He really there? A person can start to doubt when that happens. When doubt starts to linger, it can affect our relationship with God, in several ways. First, if living by faith is the way to please God, doubt undermines our fellowship with God. Then, our confidence gets short-circuited and we find ourselves insecure in our faith. Once that happens, our prayer life is affected. Our hope is sinking, and we question whether our concerns are being heard. We become uncertain and discouragement creeps in, taking away our joy and peace in Christ. We fall into a downward spiral of confusion in faith. But the good news is, we aren’t the first to have these feelings of doubt. The Bible is full of stories of heroes of the faith who found themselves discouraged for the situation they were in. David, author of many of the Psalms, had his times of doubt and discouragement. His thirteenth psalm is a great example. It begins with David asking how long he is to be forgotten by the Lord. I wonder if he took the time to consider the behavior that might have gotten him into such a fix? Studying the life-story of David, we know he did a lot of things that weren’t pleasing in God’s sight. Do you suppose he took the time to consider his sins and his misplaced focus on himself rather than God or others? Perhaps David finally came to identify those thoughts and actions that were undermining his blessings from God. His psalm reflects that, in his doubt, he did recall that God had pulled him through other trials, and ultimately, David sang praises, because he realized all the blessings he had received from God in the past. Christ came to earth to remind us, to teach us, how much God loves and cares for us, and wants the very best for us. As surely as we believe in a loving God, we must never forget that there is a Satan who wants to undermine our confidence, and draw us away from the true God. The answers to overcoming doubt can be found in study of the Bible, daily prayer, and weekly fellowship with other believers. Got doubt? Welcome to the club! The way to get rid of doubt, is to get God. If you’ve had trouble finding him, it isn’t that He’s gotten lost – it’s you. Join your fellow seekers this week at church. You’ll find hope, you’ll find faith, you’ll find assurance. See you in church.
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