Believing What You Can't Feel
Unlike in the springtime, when our internal radar system is on high alert, we didn’t sense a storm coming. Not like that anyway. Tornado sirens, high velocity cloud rotation, and power outages are sparse in the dog days of summer. We’re more accustomed to prickly grass, dried flowers, and sun-scorched worms on the driveway by now. But now the weather alerts on our T.V. and phones bullied my six dinner guests into the storm shelter, and I called for my two boys to abandon their video games and join us. Storms don’t always play nice. Neither does irrational fear.
Underground we listened to the raging wind and booming thunder. My boys sat in the corner of the shelter fighting tears and fears. Together we all joined in prayer, “God we know You control the winds and the rain with Your words. We ask You to calm the sky and protect us. Amen.”
Following the prayer, everyone began talking and laughing, trying to pass the time until we could get fresh air and a cold bottle of water. One of my sons wasn’t as peaceful. “Pray again,” He requested. We prayed again, and his fear continued to swell. “Mom, pray again,” he cried. We prayed again. And again. Even after the weatherman freed us from the buried oven, he continued to tearfully ask to pray.
Although I can appreciate his persistence in prayer, I sensed he was missing the mark. He prayed with empty faith, which was really no faith at all. Asking God to calm the sky and keep us safe meant little to him once he opened his tiny eyes. They were words saturated with unbelief and fear. At his next request I declined to pray with him. He stared at me in shock. Before you accuse me of bad mothering, let me explain.
Yes, we are called to bear the burdens of one another, we aren’t called to perpetuate the fears of one another. I felt like each time I prayed about the sketchy, swirling sky he heard a reaffirmation for potential harm. It wasn’t bringing him peace because he was fixated on danger.
If you’re just going to pray empty, faithless prayers, don’t bother. You’re wasting time and breath. That’s essentially the message I told my son, still struggling to process my refusal to pray as the local weather man pointed to dangerous blurs of red and green converging on the radar. If he wasn’t going to believe God was able, why pray?
James 1:6 says, “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” Our faith must be greater than our fear. My son didn’t have any peace in the storm because in that moment he didn’t believe God was present. How often do we pray for our trouble to subside when we should be crying out, “Lord, increase my faith to believe YOU.” I shared this with my son, and together we prayed God would increase his faith to believe what he couldn’t feel. Genuine peace washed over him, because the peace of Christ surpasses all understanding. The sky continued to howl, but fear had been erased.
If you find yourself in a stormy season of life, pray for your faith to be increased. Do you find your peace in the absence of trouble or in the presence of Jesus?