Nine days on the mission field made up of time on three continents, 4 days traveling and 5 days on the ground in Uganda. I knew this trip would take a toll on me and I had some doubts about going. Would this be a good use of time and money? While I would give resounding yesses to these questions, I want to talk about my doubts. I prayed, and had a sense I should go, but I had doubts. Would I be useful? Did they need me? The team leaders said yes, but I wondered what I’d say to help pastors in Uganda?
Have you ever had something you sensed you should do, but weren’t sure if you would actually do it? Maybe you wonder whether God actually sees your circumstances, really is involved in your life and really is asking you to do something, big or small. You might wonder if it matters if you respond to His nudges?
Abraham had doubts. Though he is referred to in Hebrews 11 more than any of the other great people of faith, he still had doubts. For the last 4 days, I had the incredible privilege of teaching pastors in villages around Jinja, from Genesis 15. Abraham, the father of all who believe, was tempted to doubt. He heard God speak, saw God come through and yet he wondered. God made a big promise to Abraham, that he would become a great nation, when he was already an old man without a son. It took 24 years before his son arrived and the beginning of the promise was fulfilled.
Abraham’s faith grew through his trials. He learned from mistakes like temporarily losing his wife by saying she was his sister and scheming to have an heir through his wife’s servant. However, God rescued him every time. All along the journey, Abraham’s faith grew as he dealt with his doubts. He wasn’t perfect, but he learned to trust God. Abraham saw the benefits of taking his doubts to God, rather than turning to his own resources. When we doubt:
We need to know God wants us to pour out our hearts to Him.
“O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.” - Psalm 62:8
We need to trust the gracious character of our Father.
"The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.” (Psalm 103:6-8)
We need to realize His plans are greater (Isa. 55:8), and He desires to do more than we think.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)
All through this story of Abraham, God patiently affirmed him when he brought his doubts to Him. There are so many great promises; of how much our Father loves each one of us, and how He desires to work in our lives. Yet, we struggle to believe it. We wonder what God is saying to us, in our circumstances. Is God leading us in a direction? We learn God’s character and His voice, in His Word.
I doubted if I would be useful this week. I prayed I would be and shared my doubts with my Father. His response? He placed me on a team that:
- taught hundreds of people this week who were hungry to hear from God
- encouraged Ugandan pastors who live & pastor in tough places
- loved on and encouraged the Arise Africa team (which is an incredible dream team doing awesome ministry – more details in future blogs, I’m sure)
- saw people come to faith in Christ
- and prayed over pastors, pastors’ wives and leaders who needed to hear from their Father.
You and I have been made for purpose, granted an assignment, but too often get sidelined with doubts. God desires to do great things through us, but we have to trust Him. When we doubt, we need to take those doubts to Him.