Because I believe that God can only work in an atmosphere of faith and cannot work in a life of doubt, doubt has been my mortal enemy. Even when I think I have doubt, I choose to bombard it with faith-speak. Even when my brain is saying, "impossible," my mouth speaks louder, "all things are possible." But because I know the inner battle I question the reality of my faith-speak. I question, "What IS faith?"
I also believe faith is not a FEELING. Faith is action regardless of the feeling. For instance, when the widow and her sons were gathering empty vessels, we have no clue of what they were thinking and feeling. I had always imagined them going door to door happily asking for empty pots. Maybe even testifying of their interaction with the prophet. But if any of them had MY personality, they'd have approached each door with cotton-mouth and a brain utterly VOID of words! Because, though I'm a great actress, the reality is I'm incredibly shy by nature and new interactions with people scare me brainless! Plus, I'm both logical and emotional. So, I'd be going door to door nervously asking for pots, yet knowing the value of vessels. We're not talking about plastic milk jugs here. These "vessels" were handmade of clay. specialized artisans created each vessel over the course of hours and days. These vessels werent crumpled and trashed when they were emptied, they were reused hundreds of times. We're talking about asking for the equivilant value of someone's REFRIGERATOR!
"Hey, could my family have your refrigerator?"
"Well, it's empty right now, but we were going to refill it. How long will you need it?"
"I'm not sure. Could you just GIVE it to me? Because I can't even pay my current bills, so I really couldn't afford to buy your fridge."
Yeah. I could have that convo if I HAD to. But I would NOT have a hyped, positive emotion driving that particular task.
The other story that has always confused me was the one about Peter being released from jail by an angel. If God can't work in the presence of doubt, then how did Peter and the church experience that miracle? Because it seems that not a SINGLE person involved in that had "faith!"
We've got Peter not believing his release was actually occurring, choosing rather to believe it was merely a dream. And we've got the church refusing to open the door to let Peter inside because they didn't believe it was possible for Peter to be released! What?! That's always confused me because my definition of "faith" has always been one believing so strongly that what you need is happening that one already feels the emotion to rejoice. There's no rejoicing in the Peter-Released-From-Jail story!
The last story I'll reference is the one where the man said to Jesus, "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief." This occurrence is what I believe is the HEIGHT of faith. This is what I believe was going on in every story I've pondered; dwelling within one person the presence of faith AND doubt. The doubt being the logic triggering an emotion. But the ACTION being the faithful confidence regardless of the emotion.
As it turns out, God is more powerful than my doubt!
He doesn't need my emotion in order to work on my behalf. He needs my behavior to be stronger than my emotion.
We do not know the description of the three Hebrew boys' emotion as they went into the fire, we only know their words and behaviors. We do know the general mood of those at the prayer meeting where the miraculously-released Peter showed up at; they seemed to already be at his funeral or viewing! What is "faith" about THAT?! I'd say that they weren't sulking at home alone was faith. That they demonstrated behaviors of joining with believers when they could have had fear of being arrested just as Peter had been was an act of faith. The BEHAVIOR was faith, not the thoughts, nor the emotion.
So, as for me, I will speak and behave in ways that shows God how in spite of circumstances around me, in spite of my mood, in spite of my thoughts, questions and fears, GOD IS BIGGER, STRONGER, & MORE POWERFUL!
God isn't merely stronger than my enemy, He's actually stronger than my doubt!
God isn't just more powerful than my situation, He's more powerful than my fear!
I am in the hands of a God who loves me. He has my best interests at heart. And I am CONFIDENT that He Is working things out for me, His princess-boo.
(Yeah. I totally just lost all the male readership with that "princess-boo.")