Shattering Doubt

Cheri Strange

Shattering Doubt

Shattering Doubt

She Prays on Friday

Last week I met with a group of precious souls gathered because they believe God has or is calling them to write a particular message to a particular audience. Writing is a solitary endeavor. Most days it feels like you are trying to be something you are not. Other days it seems you have made up the calling in your own egomaniacal brain. Getting together with others who question, even doubt, God’s ability to use them is comforting.

Without knowing what God is speaking into your life or any real details, I can imagine you know these doubts. Maybe you are struggling with a child, feeling like you are not a good mom. It could be you feel inadequate at your job, fearing someone might discover your deficiencies and fire you any day. So many of us keep this type of mental drama spinning, filling us with questions and hesitancy. It’s in these emotional predicaments I find Psalm 138 so instructive.

Shattering Doubt with Scripture

 

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Psalm 138:8 ESV

 

The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands. KJV

 

These verses are filled with declaration, promise, and faithfulness. David is expressing at least three things in these verses:

  • David first declares what God will do.
  • He explains why he can say God will do the first thing.
  • Finally, David prays, asking God to be true to these realities.

The first thing we should notice is who is directing this ship.

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;

David is not the captain of his ship. At the onset, David declares who is in charge—and it’s not him. Neither are you in charge of our own ship. It’s not your employer, the coaches on your child’s sports team, your doctor, or any other entity that seems to hold sway over your life.

The Problem of Doubt

Most of the time our problem is us. We lead. David makes clear he cannot orchestrate his life to turn out the way he wants. If you know his history, the man tried directing his own life, and it was a colossal disaster. He stole someone else’s wife, got her pregnant, and had her husband killed. Of course, he got caught. Then the child died. The whole selfish and sin-filled season left David looking like a loser for years. There was a loss of dignity, respect, and at one time, the kingdom.

The Solution for Doubt

This man knows a thing or two about what he declares here. David’s way is not better. The LORD will fulfill His purpose for him. God will. Not David. At the same time, David knows something you and I often forget. You can be a total screw-up and a disappointment to everyone and yourself while still experiencing this promise.

The LORD Will. . .

Consider his certainty. David states this as an absolutely surefire deal. The LORD will. He will. David does not hesitate with “God might, but I’m not sure because I’m a loser.” He does not record how God is able but likely not with him. Instead, he knows what you and I often forget. Even in the midst of our failures and screw-ups, the LORD will. This is the assured faith we need in what is not seen or deserved.

The LORD Will for You. . .

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me. It’s not an impersonal gesture like the gift bags given to every conference participant when you check in at registration. You and the other thousand participants enjoy the same free stickers, schedule, a pen, and cheap water bottles. Everybody gets the same thing. It’s not personal.

This is not how God works.

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; (ESV)

What an ever-so-personal promise.

Shattering Doubt with Promises

I love how the KJV and the Amplified versions record it:

The LORD will perfect that which concerns me.

There are a lot of things which concern me, yet—it’s still just me. And it’s still just you. God is concerned about that which concerns you.

David is as sure of God’s concern and devotion to him, personally, as part of His character.

. . .your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.

This sticking-to-you-like glue, never to be shaken off kind of love that will not end is steadfast. Forget what you have done or can’t do. He loves you. There is mercy enough. David has tried God in this and lived to tell tales. Ugly ones. Let us not forget this man was a real person who knew and experienced what you and I can know and experience. The love of the Lord toward you—as a person—will not ever end.

A Final Plea to Shatter Doubt

Shattering DoubtBecause of these realities, David is drawn to plead with God.

Do not forsake the work of your hands.

You would think David would be so convinced of God’s ability, based on the preceding lines, there would be no need for direct petition here. What is this plea about? The Bible doesn’t say. What we can recognize are patterns. David has a habit of walking us through an internal process—some necessary inner work of getting his heart ready to act.

David first states the known. God is personally invested in your present and future for everlasting good because of His commitment to His own. This understanding is backed up because of God’s steadfast love for His people. Therefore, David injects a let us not leave anything on the table type plea. In other words, “Lord, do it in spite of my shortcomings and lack.” It’s a plea based on His character, calling God to crush any doubt to which he is clinging being faithful to Who He is and what He promises.

What an incredible prayer to use in our own lives today.

A Prayer for God to Fulfill His Purpose in You

Lord,

Thank You for investing in that which concerns my friend. I thank You for Your commitment to her. Right now, I ask what David asks: Fulfill Your purpose for her wherever she is. Perfect what concerns her in her family, her relationships, in ministry or in work. You lead.

Because of Your love for her, show this friend Your mercy to use her brokenness. Demonstrate Your character in her life. Work wonders in and through her. Yes! Fulfill your purposes for her life. For what she cannot yet see or understand, I pray for clarity. Inherent in these verses is the possibility of doubt and  discouragement. Therefore, renew her sense of trust and action, looking to You to move out diligently until she sees the fulfillment of what You have called her to in this season. For all this we thank you. In the glorious and powerfully able Name of Jesus,

Amen

For His Glory,

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