I spent 20+ years earlier in my life living with embers of fear, doubt, and worry ready to catch fire. And they did. The resulting conflagration left much pain and travail in its wake. The consequences were horrific, but God has used all of that for good. In fact, he’s using it right here with you. Here’s the story.
The tendency to doubt and worry resides in all of us to one degree or another, and it never entirely goes away. The deciding factor between succumbing to fear or not is whether the doubt ember catches fire and produces flames.
The damage does not come from the embers! No matter how much they strut with their menacing glow, the damage comes from the fire.
God showed me his amazing truth that keeping the embers from erupting into flames is all about locating the spot where they originate. That learning allowed me to deal with the embers smoldering deep inside the hearth of my soul by connecting with God before they could catch fire.
When we hold onto doubts with all of our might, of course it’s impossible to release them to God. We are afraid to expose our fears and worries to others, too. We think they will cause others to reject us. That was certainly the case for me. I thought if one part of my life was a mess, my family and friends would assume my entire life was a mess.
But, wait…there’s good news!
Fear, doubt, and worry do not mean we have a weakened faith. The only thing that undermines our faith is not believing God’s promises and moving toward them in trust and surrender. If God knows everything, why would we want to keep our fears and doubts out of our daily conversation with him? He wants our relationship fully open and honest, and that includes sharing our fears, doubts, and worries.
What does it mean if we allow our doubt embers to ignite a fire?
It means God is showing us we have not fully surrendered to him in trust. Doubt embers smolder and are never extinguished when we are not close to God, his Scripture, and his promises. It means we have not fully accepted his guarantee that he will be there for us no matter what. Consider this from the prophet Jeremiah:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
And, finally, there’s this piercing and immutable truth from the apostle Paul:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39