But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:6
He Makes The Bridges
A young girl unaccustomed to travelling took a train ride through the country. During the day, her train was obliged to cross the two branches of a river and several vast streams. The child had a great fear of water, and upon seeing the river, her fears and anxieties were awakened. She couldn’t see how the train could go through it safely. When they got close to the river, though, a bridge appeared, allowing them to cross. The child leaned back with a big breath of calm and confidence after repeating the experience two or three times.
“Someone has made bridges for us all the way!” she remarked confidently. That is the nature of life. We are terrified of so many difficulties that feel insurmountable as they loom ahead of us; nevertheless, as we proceed, we learn that there is a road past them. God has built bridges for us all along the route. The doubter represents someone uncertain and unable to make a firm judgment.
The individual who is “wavering” is fighting a mental battle. He is questioning himself about what he genuinely believes. A doubter’s spiritual difficulty is that they cannot fully believe what God has said in His Word. They even desire to believe His promises, and they appear to do so at times. But when they evaluate their circumstances, crunch the calculations, and contemplate the probabilities, they begin to doubt.
James does not say that we must never have questions when we deal with God. It is okay to ask God why. But it does not mean that we will not struggle to understand his ways. Often the ways of God seem strange, different and scary, but God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8).
Rooted In Place
Paul argues unequivocally in Titus 1:2 that our God cannot lie. God can’t say something false. A doubter is not certain that God has told them the truth. They would never accuse Him of lying, but their emotions are torn between believing Him and disbelieving Him. It is so important to trust God that James writes that we should call our worst moments joyful times (James 1:2-4). People who trust God focus on the rewards in the next life, look into his word, and act on what his word says.
James paints an excellent image and example of our lack of faith in God. The image illustrates a sea wave being blown and flung by the wind. So, if we follow his logic and examine the sea waves, we will understand what unbelief in God causes to a person. The sceptical individual will be thrown here right and left, and all over by the ever-changing winds of fate like a “wave of the sea”. They are trusting God this week and doubting God the following week. But, praying in faith is being dependent on God decisively and expectantly.
King James Version (KJV)
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”
New International Version (NIV)
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
“But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind;”
New American Bible (NASB)
“But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.”
English Standard Version (ESV)
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”
The Living Bible (TLB)
“But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you, for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind;”