Battlefield of the Mind: Week Eleven (finally)

Doubt and Unbelief......

At first glace these words seem similar in many ways, but after reading chapter eleven of Joyce Meyer's book Battlefield of the Mind it was easy to see just how different these two words are when being spoken in reference to our relationship with God.

Doubt has to do with wavering between hope and fear. When we choose to be filled with doubt we will soon be filled with anxiety and uncertainty.

Unbelief, on the other hand, is much more serious.  When we choose not to believe we are choosing disobedience.

The devil uses BOTH doubt and unbelief to keep our minds all worked up.

Joyce talks about the faith that Abraham had to have to keep believing God's promise for a son years after the promise had been made.  He believed God's Word would come true....and eventually it did.

Joyce talks about Peter's desire to walk on the water to meet Jesus and how after stepping out of the boat and taking a few steps Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink.......doubt overcame him as he realized that he was doing something that was beyond human capability, and he chose to look too closely at the reality of where he was standing rather than keeping his eyes on the one who was leading him over his reality.

When I think about my personal life and the words "doubt" and "unbelief," I have to say that I have struggled with both at different seasons.

I remember writing to my mom and dad after we lost Adrienne and I was so sad.  I remember saying that I was struggling to believe..that I was beginning to feel like Jesus didn't love me.  In my mind I was beginning to believe that if He truly loved me, then He wouldn't have allowed our little baby girl to die.  Dad wrote me back and some day I hope I can find the letter that he wrote, because in it he told me that my belief in Jesus was not about how I "felt."  It was about KNOWING that Jesus is God's Son no matter what.  It took several years for me to climb out of the pit of depression after losing Adrienne, but I clung to those words.  I could not base my love for Jesus or His love for me on MY feelings.  My relationship had to be deeper and stronger than how I felt, because my feelings change dramatically from day to day.  Had I chosen to continue to allow my doubt to turn to unbelief, I would be a bitter, cold person today.  Unbelief leads to disobedience.  Thank you, Lord, for protecting me from that path.  If you feel that you are on this path, please know that I am praying for you right this minute..passionately and with deep love.

Years later when Nick began his fight with cancer, I entered an entirely new chapter of being stretched in the areas of doubt and unbelief.  Hearing of other people's children beating cancer and then discovering that Nick had yet another brain tumor became more and more difficult with every passing year.  Realizing that the doctors could do no more, I remember walking through every room in our house one night in the middle of the night, crying over Nick who was sleeping, and then over Todd as he was sleeping and then over Olivia as she was sleeping....all the time pleading with God to heal our son.  I finally came downstairs and woke up Tim and cried some more.  We went down to the family room and I cried and cried and told Tim that I couldn't live if Nick died.  I felt our life was spinning frighteningly out of control and I didn't know what to do.  We were walking in the valley of the shadow of death, and I wanted out of the valley.....desperately.

Through the prayers of many, many prayer warriors all over the world, we somehow gained a peace in those last few months of Nick's life and were able to share many more special memories, but I have to be honest.....it is still hard for me to hear of other people's miracles.  I have to make a choice EVERY TIME I hear a "God is so good, because He......" to not give in to unbelief.

Remember the kitten "Miracle" that arrived at our home a couple of months ago after being thrown from a car window?  Well, our cat Marbles has not liked Miracle ever since the minute she arrived.  I have felt great sympathy for Marbles and have jokingly said, "It's hard to live near a miracle when it's not yours."

I guess I say all of this today to say this:

If you are full of praise because God has answered your prayers in the ways you wanted, please be gentle near those who have not had the same kinds of answers.

And if you feel as if you have prayed and prayed, but God seems to be answering your prayers with a "no" or "wait," please do not give in to doubt or unbelief.

One day we will understand God's ways.......but that "one day" won't be while we're here on this planet; so it's best to not even try to understand right now.

That's where faith comes in.

We have to walk by faith......and often it is a walk that moves from faith to faith.......requiring a little more with each step we take.

Romans 1:17

(New American Standard Bible)

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

This chapter really spoke to me this weekend. I want to walk from faith to faith not doubting or being overcome with unbelief.

Like Abraham, I want these words from

Romans 4 to be true for me too:

"Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

Am I sad?  Yes

Am I full of joy? Yes

Do I have questions?  Yes

Do I know the One who will provide the answers?  Yes

Thankful, so thankful, for a God who understands how I can say "yes" to all these questions and who longs to help me win the battle for my mind.

Praying that you realize how much He loves you too.

 todds birthday photos 2010 0060

I know this picture has nothing to do with doubt or unbelief, but it does have to do with trying to stay strong in the battle of life........See, this is me in Nick's football jersey with four of Nick's friends' moms in their son's jerseys last weekend the day after the football field dedication in memory of Nick.  As we all cried at the football field, I said to these friends of mind, "One day this will all make sense....IT BETTER!!" 

And deep inside, I know it will.  For me and for you. :)

Stay strong.  Keep your eyes on Jesus.

I love you all so much,



6 Comments:

Blogger K. Langston said...

Tammy, what a powerful post. The evidence of God that I see is how you have found the strength to keep going, keep believing, keep offering hope despite and even THROUGH your own season of grief. The evidence is that God sustains you. You could not write the words you did without the power of God living through you. Within you, Tammy, is the evidence of God that people need to see today.

Sweet Tammy, there will come a day when there will be no more goodbyes. You know this and I know it. On that day, you will introduce me to your children, and we will share the stories of living in a world that is not really ours, and together celebrate the victory of coming home.

Until that time, you are called to be His witness here, and just to let you know, you are doing a wonderful job of it. I feel so blessed to have gotten to room with you at She Speaks. Let's always keep in touch!

Kelly

Blogger natalie said...

Tammy,

Thank you for your post. I often wonder when I hear someone else' child survived a horrible accident why our Mal did not?? You are so right, even though our heart may say one thing, we really do have to go on what we know, JESUS IS GOD'S SON. Thank you for being such a blessing and allowing God to speak thru you Tammy.

Praying as we all walk by faith, one step at a time,

much love,
natalie

Blogger Jen said...

Thank you for sharing these feelings that are so close to your heart. I haven't experienced the death of a child but my husband died before he should have according to the world's standards. I often have twinges of sadness and uncomfortableness when people talk of God loving them when a family member is healed. I think well does that mean he doesn't love me. I know that he does. But statements of other's miracles can make us feel bad. Selfishness I guess because it isn't all about me and I want to be happy for them. I have had to come to really believe and to know that the premature death of my husband was a blessing and a healing. It is the only way one can proceed and not get bitter. You are doing a wonderful job witnessing truthfully for the Kingdom of God. Thank you Tammy

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How powerful this was for me and the many who have read it. One thing I do know is that there is a kingdom and if we prepare correctly we will be in the finest place ever. This down here is our trial and why have some more than others no one knows. And Our God there for us to hold onto in this world. Just think what it would be like if we didn't have Him to pray to and hold onto. Tammy you are a grace given to us by God. Hold onto all of your words yourself and someday you too will have your answers even though it is so hard right now. Love in Christ, Sandy from MD

Blogger Caprice said...

Thank you for this post. It came at a good time for me.

Blogger Julia said...

I too have a hard time with other's miracles. We did what God asked us to do. We adopted all these kids and we've loved them and prayed for them and taken care of them but are still waiting for the miraculous emotional and spiritial healing. When do we get our "Happy Ending"?
I love the song the says....While I'm waiting, I will worship; While I'm waiting, I will serve you; While I'm waiting, I will not faint; I'll be runnin' the race, even while I wait!!.....so that's where Dave and I are, serving and worshiping and STILL waiting.

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