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THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY

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MONTHLY CHALLENGE

October 2022 Challenge

" Why do we doubt?” 

“You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14, 31

As we begin the month of October before I start the challenge I invite you all to prayerfully and carefully read this familiar passage from the Gospel of Matthew 14, 22-32. While reading it, pay close attention to the bold sentences.

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

As you read it, the 1st bold sentence says: "Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side ". This means that Jesus instructed the disciples to put out to sea. While they are following Jesus' instructions, here comes a storm that could potentially kill them. If they didn't follow Jesus or his instructions maybe they would not be in this situation! How many times do we face similar situations and come to the same conclusions? Being a Christian is hard and comes with so many obstacles. It's like the world is raging against us to drown us. Maybe we should have stayed where we are. Maybe there is no good that comes from following Jesus Christ. And these are how, why, and when we doubt.

As you read it, the 1st bold sentence says: "Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side ". This means that Jesus instructed the disciples to put out to sea. While they are following Jesus' instructions, here comes a storm that could potentially kill them. If they didn't follow Jesus or his instructions maybe they would not be in this situation!

 

How many times do we face similar situations and come to the same conclusions? Being a Christian is hard and comes with so many obstacles. It's like the world is raging against us to drown us. Maybe we should have stayed where we are. Maybe there is no good that comes from following Jesus Christ. And these are how, why, and when we doubt. 

Let us keep reading the next bold verses when Jesus is walking on water towards the disciples. What does this mean? Jesus never said that following Him would be easy! In fact He said the opposite.. " 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Matthew 16, 24. He never promised easy roads with no resistance or obstacles. Instead He describes His Way as the narrow road."14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" Matthew 7, 14.

 

So what exactly is Jesus teaching us in this passage? He is telling us that He will never leave us to drown, He walks towards us in the midst of the storm. Do not doubt nor be afraid, trust in Him, stay focused on Him because if we remain focused we could transcend the storm and walk over it. but if we doubt or look back, like Peter we will find ourselves drowning. But even then, if we cry out to Him, He will pull us out of it. 

Are you facing situations making you doubt God's presence?

Do we find ourselves within a storm at the verge of drowning?

Do you think by following God's instructions you find yourself in this storm and just want to quit following Him?

 

I challenge you my brothers and sisters to read the verses again and this time apply them to you. Instead of the disciples, imagine you are in a trying situation whichever it may be (financial, physical, emotional, social, mental). Imagine the conversation going on in you where you are doubting God's presence, thinking He set you up for failure or maybe even death in this situation. Imagine how scared and hopeless you feel. In a last attempt cry out to God. Can you see Him walking on water coming towards you? Are you so deep in your doubts that you don't even notice Him?

 

Let's take this month of October to meditate on this challenge.

Written by Johanne Belizaire-Francois MD, MHA on 10/1/2022

Not to be reproduced without permission from the author.

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