Even in moments of doubt, God is with you.
‘Why did you doubt?’ Now,
that’s a complicated question.
“Why did you doubt?” It’s not easy to
explain the reasons that we begin to doubt
what God has called us to do. It’s not
as easy… You know, people will give you
simplified solutions for spiritual struggles:
“Just trust the Lord,” and stuff like that.
What about the trauma that makes
it hard for me to trust anybody,
especially a God I can’t even see? And
when you tell me to trust the Lord,
how do I know it’s him I’m trusting and not just
my idea that I had when I stepped out in faith?
That is a very complicated question. “Why did you
doubt?” Did somebody else’s voice get in his head?
It’s a complicated thing to describe
your insecurities to somebody.
A lot of people look at you, how handsome you
are, how beautiful you are, how strong you are,
how gifted you are, how talented you are,
how effervescent your personality is…
They look at you, and they’re like, “She’s
so effervescent. If I had her effervescence…”
“Oh man. Cindy is so strong. Cindy
is so steady and so consistent.”
But it gets windy for Cindy too.
“Why did you doubt?”
Why were you having a conversation with yourself
this week? “Does it really even matter what I do,
and does anybody really care that I do
it, and am I even really good at it?”
You can get quiet. The Holy Ghost told me this
message, so I’m not confused about it. I know.
Meanwhile, the Devil tells me the same stuff, so
I know what that feels like. I know exactly what
that feels like. I can’t tell you exactly why
I get in that place. I can’t tell you exactly
all of the psychological and neurological
factors. I don’t know all of the things
that accumulate in one’s life to bring
you to a point where you begin to doubt.
When you’re doing so well, you know, really
staying on top of it, really doing well with
the diet, really doing well staying clean, really
doing well… “I’m going to confess the Word. I’m
going to think positively. I’m going to have a
Bible reading streak. I’m going to do it. I’m
going to do it.” It’s really hard to understand
what goes wrong in those moments when you sink.
So, rather than answer that question, “Why did
you doubt?” (which is never explicitly answered
in the text, probably because it’s far too
complicated to be included in this simple story),
I want to answer a simpler
question. Instead of asking
why he doubted, I want to ask
the question…When did he doubt?
The answer is in verse 30.
“But when he saw the wind…”
There is nothing in this text that
indicates the wind got stronger at
this moment and knocked Peter off his balance.
From all appearances, the wind was blowing
at the same velocity as it had been blowing
the whole time he stepped toward Jesus, and
he has walked a long way against the wind.
It doesn’t say when the wind picked up Peter
fell. It doesn’t say when the wind gained and
started to gust and thrust with momentum Peter
fell because the wind got so bad. It doesn’t
say when the circumstances got worse Peter’s
faith weakened. Actually, a lot of times,
when the circumstances get worse, that’s when
our faith actually locks in and gets stronger.
Now I know I need God and I can’t play
around. Now I’m getting to the place of
realizing that if I don’t have Jesus,
I’m going to sink out here. No, no, no.
It wasn’t when the wind got stronger that
Peter fell. It said when he saw the wind,
the same wind that had been blowing against
him the whole time. It was still blowing,
but for so many steps he wasn’t paying it
any attention because he was locked on Jesus.
For so many steps, he wasn’t paying
attention to how the water was moving.
He wasn’t paying attention to how it was
rocking this way or that way or the waves.
He wasn’t paying any attention to that.
The wind didn’t pick up. His focus changed.
His eyes shifted. He started looking
past the one he was walking toward.
When he did, he saw the wind.
When did Peter fall? Winded. When
did you start focusing on all of
the things that are going wrong
so much that you forgot God brought
you from a mighty long way? When did
you forget that his blood prevailed
at Calvary, that one drop was enough?
When did you become one of these “Hand
in my pocket” Christians? You used to be
wild. You used to be a worshiper. You
used to be like David. You used to be
undignified. You used to cry when
we sang about the goodness of God.
Maybe he got tired out there. It’s hard
walking on the water. It’s hard keeping
your focus. “I’ve been rowing all night.
I’ve been feeding people I didn’t plan to
have come over. I’ve been smiling at
people who came in grumpy. I’ve been
trying to be nice. I’ve been trying to be
kind. I’m winded.” When did your feelings…?
I’m not picking on Peter. Man, it’s hard enough
for me some weeks to get a haircut and pick out
a shirt and get up and grab a microphone and
preach, so God knows I love him for trying.
“But when he saw the wind…” It wasn’t
like it just started at that moment.
That would make sense. But you’ve
been doing this the whole time.
We’ll walk you through it sometime. We’ll walk
you through those moments where you quit caring.
We’ll walk you through those moments where
you started believing… I was writing in
my journal one day, and the Lord gave me
something very powerful and painful to hear.
He said, “You stopped believing your
faith can change situations. Now you
use it as a coping mechanism. You don’t
put your faith on stuff like you used to.”
When did…? Why did he doubt? I don’t know. I’m not
Peter. Only he can answer that. I don’t know why
Peter doubted, but I know when he did. When
he started looking at what was against him.
Am I talking about Peter
or am I talking about you?
Wouldn’t it be foolish for you to get
fixated on all of those who didn’t love you
and not receive from those who do? When did
you get hard-hearted? You used to be open.
You used to pray for other people. You
used to do that. And you know what?
When you prayed, you expected something
to happen from it. You checked up on it.
You were texting them 10 minutes
later. “Did it happen yet?
Okay. I’m going to pray more. Did it happen? Okay.
I’m going to pray in tongues. Did it happen yet?”
When did you stop being that little girl?
You used to sing to Jesus. You used to sit
in your room and sing to Jesus. The Devil
stole your song because you went in a storm.
When did…? It’s just a question. When did you take
your eyes off of what Jesus was moving you toward
and start only thinking about
what was coming against you?
Hey, reality check. When did Jesus
know there was going to be a storm?
When he told them to go. He knew exactly what
these fools were about to face. He’s not shocked.
Hey, everybody in here who’s struggling with, “I
don’t know if God can use me because I’ve been
struggling with some stuff in my life…” Well,
let’s get that figured out. Let’s not have you
wallowing around in sin, just wrecking your life
and all that. But when did God set you apart?
Before you were born.
One Bible verse I would like you to learn is
in the New Testament book of Romans. It says,
“While we were yet sinners, Christ died
for us.” So, if he called me (Jeremiah 1:6)
and set me apart from my mother’s womb, and
then he saved me while I was still a sinner,
why would he stop using me now just
because I struggle with something?
you know what else I never really
realized? I love the Bible. I think
I’ll probably preach this Bible story once a year
and see if God will show me something new in it.
I never thought about how far Peter came
before he fell. How did I miss this?
It’s in the text, y’all. Verse 31: “Immediately
Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.”
We have already established that
Jesus was at a far enough distance
where they could not see him
except through his silhouette.
You mean to tell me Peter got all that way?
The Bible didn’t say when he cried out Jesus
ran over and picked him up. “I’m coming,
Peter.” No, the Bible said, “Immediately…”
Peter was within arm’s reach of
Jesus. And you want to fall now?
You are this close to your breakthrough. You are
this close to being the person God… You are this
close to your freedom. You are this close
to your kids turning around and coming back
to God. You are this close to your miracle.
“I didn’t come this far to fall down now.”
It taught me a lesson. It taught
me the times when I’m tempted to
look away are going to be the times when
I’m closest to where God is bringing me.
The Spirit says, “You’re close. Keep coming.
You’re close. Keep coming.” You’re closer than
you think you are. You’re closer than you’ve
been before. You’re closer than my Hammond
B3 organ. You’re closer than you’ve ever
been. You can’t go down now. You can’t tap
out now. You can’t die now. You can’t turn
around now. There’s nothing to go back to.
“I’m close, baby! That’s why this wind is
blowing so hard. The Enemy knows I’m close.”
You’re close! I don’t know who this is for, but
you’re close. You’re so close. You are so close.
See, the Bible says they worshiped him when he got
in the boat and the wind died
down. That’s one way to do it.
“O God, I’ll worship you when this battle is
over. O God, I’ll worship you when I’m done
with this situation. O God, I’ll worship
you when you restore the relationship.”
But why not worship him while you’re
still in it? When did you praise him?
In the middle of the storm. When did you
praise him? In the middle of the night.
When did Paul and Silas start to sing? At
midnight. When did you start shrinking down
your God to the size of your problems? When
did you stop telling your problems how big your
God is? Just telling God all the time, “Oh, my
problems are so big. Oh, my bills are so bad. Oh,
my cholesterol. O God.” You can list that all day
or you can shift your attention back on Jesus. I
feel a shift happening in this room tonight. It’s
a subtle shift, but it’s a saving shift. It’s a
small shift, but it’s like a rudder. It’s going
to turn the ship back in the right direction.