Too Afraid to Pray

Allow me to be honest for a few moments.  Faith has always been something that’s come fairly easily for me.  God has blessed me with the knowledge of his presence since I was very young, and when the times have come to make big decisions, God has always been right there to prompt my heart in the right direction.  Whenever I’ve been faced with trials or loss or hurt, God has always been quick to step in and comfort me, and I am truly thankful for such a present Savior.

However, there are some days, some moments, when my heart is seized by tremendous doubt.  Faith becomes something that I know in my head but cannot muster to feel in my heart.  It’s a dark and lonely place, and in those moments all my hopes and goals seem infinitely far off, if not altogether unattainable.  If I’m honest with myself, in those moments I’m even afraid to put my faith in God because to have faith means placing oneself in a position of vulnerability.

“What if I put all my trust in God, but he lets me down?”

Sometimes I find myself hesitant to pray for things because I’m afraid to be disappointed by God if my prayer isn’t answered.  I don’t think I could stand being let down by God.

I am deeply comforted by the multitude of stories in the Bible in which our biblical heroes walk through their moments of great unbelief.  Our “giants of the faith” were all 100% human and all of them at one point or another wrestled with fear and doubt.  Everybody from Abraham to David, from Moses to Elijah.  Every single one of Jesus disciples abandoned him at the end of his life.

But here’s the good news.  God assures us- no, he promises us that he will never abandon us.  Jesus promises that he hears and answers our prayers.  Even after the disciples all ran out on Jesus, he returned to them and did not hold their panic against them.

A little bit of faith goes a long way.  Jesus reassured us that the tiniest amount of faith is enough to see miracles.  He didn’t tell the disciples that until they had giant-size faith, they were useless.  Instead, he said that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.

And still there is the problem of doubt and fear.  At a certain point, the rubber meets the road, and even though we read and know all the promises of God in our heads, it’s our hearts that still can’t make the jump.  And that’s where I finally understand what it means to have faith: to risk a broken heart and take God at his word, to be vulnerable.

That’s where my heart is tonight.  I’m choosing to take God at his word, and trust him with my life, knowing that my heart will break if he doesn’t come through.  I’m scraping together every bit of faith I have (which I’m pretty sure isn’t much bigger than a mustard seed) and placing all of it in God’s hands.

Even in typing these words down, my heart is filled again with the peaceful knowledge of God’s presence.  He never leaves me.