Not too long ago I heard a story about a person who had learned to swim.
“When I was a small kid,” he said, “I already knew how to keep my head above the water, but only recently did I learn how to really swim. All those years I thought that swimming meant struggling with the water. I used up all my energy to stay alive and when I climbed back out I was usually exhausted. Swimming, as a result, was really not much fun. But then someone saw me fighting with the water and asked me what I was doing.
I answered him that it was obvious. I was swimming. But he laughed and said I was just wasting my energy. ‘You should not fight the water, but rather trust the water to keep you afloat’, he said, ‘and then use your strength to actually get somewhere.’ It took me some time to realize he was right, but now I am actually enjoying swimming as it is no longer such a struggle.”
It was a simple story, but it reminded me of what it is like to have faith. Faith means that we trust God to keep us afloat. True faith means resting in God and never a nervous struggle with our circumstances. If we trust we can peacefully float on God’s presence and use our strength to actually get somewhere. But often we strive in our own strength. We believe in God but are certain we must struggle as well to keep afloat and because of that, having faith can become a tiresome business.
The Psalms tell us, “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass.” The key message is that we need to commit everything to God and trust Him, before He can actually bring it all to pass. This is the one thing God cannot do for us. A.B. Simpson compared it to the writing of an important letter. We work on it for hours, pour out our hearts on paper and create a virtual masterpiece. But then as we want to write the address on the envelope, doubt creeps in. We are not certain if we have the right address. Did this person live on Main Street or on First Avenue? We just don’t remember and we dare not send off the letter. We worked hard, and were very sincere, but the letter will never get sent and does nobody any good.
Often this is the case in our relationship with God. We are not certain. We doubt that our message will actually reach God. We have problems that we would like God to solve, but we fail to properly deliver the message to Him because we don’t truly commit the matter to Him.
The Apostle James talked about this as well. He said, “Let us ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.”
If we pray but we don’t seem to receive answers from God it is not because God doesn’t love us or He doesn’t care. It’s not because He is upset with us for whatever reason, but it may simply be because He hasn’t received our message. We weren’t able to commit it fully to Him. Our letter never reached His house and therefore, He can’t give us the answers either.
Faith lets go of doubts. Faith trusts and as a result God answers in His time and in His wonderful way.
*Psalm 37:4 (KJV)
*James 1:6-7 (KJV)