Digging Up in Doubt

Doubt. It sure has been chasing me down lately. So much so, I’ve been struggling to breathe between the despondent wails I’ve cried out to my Creator. In an attempt to evade doubt, I flee to the place where solace has always met me – there at the cliff’s edge revering the mighty Atlantic. The sheer magnitude of the waves pounding the rock well beneath my feet reminds me that God is still in control. With all my being, I know that He is.

I believe, Lord. Please help my unbelief.

Help my unbelief. Because the winds of change over the past few years have become more abrasive than they have been pliable. Their intensity has increased without notice, brought on by the wildest of circumstances, and I confess that I am shaken.

There. I said it. I am shaken.

The unsettling gales of job loss and constant uncertainty are eroding my confidence, exposing my weaknesses, and exhausting my resolve. The old me – the one that futilely seemed to have everything under control – is being scattered mid-life into a thousand places and longs just to feel whole again.

I believe, Lord. Please help my unbelief.

Help my unbelief. Because I have planted by faith dreams rooted so deeply in my core that they are becoming me. I have planted by faith hopes so outrageous that they can only be fulfilled by the divine sufficiency of the Almighty. I have planted by faith tears, believing that I, too, will eventually reap with songs of joy.

I believe, Lord. Please help my unbelief.

Help my unbelief. Because, sure, I may have planted these things by faith and I may have watered them with prayer, but let’s just be honest here, my patience – it verily wanes. It wanes because of the waiting – waiting that in some instances has spanned more than a decade and, in others, just mere days. I get tempted in the waiting. I worry and fret and am conflicted in the waiting. And it may not be beyond me to sometimes get angry in the waiting.

That lament of the Psalmist often bares a stark semblance to my own: “How long, O Lord?”

I believe. Please help my unbelief.

Help my unbelief. Because sometimes in the waiting, the cunning lies of the enemy are louder than the obvious truths of God’s word. Sometimes in the waiting, it seems easier to give up then to go on. Sometimes in the waiting, my posture becomes dispirited rather than my strength renewed. Sometimes in the waiting, what I ought to do, I do not do and what I ought not to do, I do.

“Don’t dig up in doubt what you have planted by faith.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot

But, oh, I begin digging with that rudder of a tongue. I begin digging, so erroneously adamant that things need to move faster. I begin digging although I know it will be the Lord’s purpose that prevails. It’s so Jonah of me isn’t it?  The things I ought not to do, I do. I begin to dig up in doubt what I have planted by faith – perhaps an indication that my patience isn’t the only thing that’s waning. Is not every lunge in this hollowing out reflective of distrust because nothing is happening – at least, nothing that can be seen above the surface. Am I really, then, walking by faith and not by sight?

Ashamed and convicted, I stood on the edge of that cliff and asked the Lord what it is that He wants me to say here. Rarely am I at a loss for words, but how can I tell you not to doubt when I’m sitting on an ash heap of one all my own? The sea still furious, I look up to the dark clouds looming with rain and I ask of the Lord again, “What do You want me to say?” Because the truth is, Sisters, I’m tired of digging up in doubt. I need to know too.

So I lingered a little longer, my ears attuned to the rustling of the sea grape leaves that were knee high. And though the sounds of nature surrounded me, I could clearly discern that voice within – Granddaddy. Tell them about Granddaddy. He didn’t dig up in doubt.   

See, my father-in-law had been blinded by glaucoma several years before I met him. On any given morning for nearly 20 years, I could pull up into their driveway and see Granddaddy in his garden.

“Good morning, Granddaddy.”

“Good morning, Sis. Steph,” he’d always reply.

He’d labor in that garden for hours – sowing with bare hands, watering with only a bucket, weeding, and harvesting. How he could tell a weed from the plants he’d sown is beyond me, but he had mastered it. Every fruit or vegetable had its own neat little row, and he took great pleasure in being able to share his returns.

Like every other gardener, Granddaddy couldn’t see the growth of what he’d planted by faith that was taking place below the ground. But he couldn’t see the growth of what he’d planted by faith that was taking place above the ground either. His blindness demanded that he walk by faith and not by sight. He didn’t dig up in doubt just because he couldn’t see what was or wasn’t happening in the physical. No, he planted by faith simply by what he could see in the spiritual – the faithfulness of God.

Again, I echo the words of the Psalmist. Not that of lament this time, but of faith:

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” ~ Psalm 27:13

I believe, Lord. Please help my unbelief.

Often times, remembering God’s faithfulness is a remedy to relieve our doubts.  In what way(s) or situation(s) has He been faithful to you?

Photo by Chris Yang on Unsplash

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