James 1: He is in control

I’m a doubter.

There I said it.

I grew up in the church and have been a Christian for as long as I can remember. I do believe in God and that he is completely in control.

Yet I still doubt him.

I’m not sure if my doubting is in his being good or if it’s a trust issue or how to label it.  Basically, I have a hard time allowing God to have complete control in my life.  Which is hilarious since he is in complete control regardless of how I feel about it!  My problem is that he allows bad things to happen.  (I won’t use the common phrase that he allows bad things to happen to good people.  Because who of us is actually good?  And we all have bad things happen to us).

How can I trust him fully when I know that he can allow bad things to happen?   Looking back on my life, I wouldn’t say he’s allowed anything to happen up to this point that I hold against him.   Certainly in the midst of certain trials, I did question him outright.  But, now that I have some perspective and distance from those things, I am just grateful that he hasn’t allowed more trials in my life than he has.

My fear is of what he could allow to happen in my future.  And I don’t know what to do about that.  I watch other people struggling with horrific things and I feel so bad for them.  And I wonder how I would ever survive if I were in their shoes. How can I have any solace knowing God is in control when he might allow something harmful to happen to me or someone I care about?

James 1:5-8 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

I often find myself relating to the man in Mark 9:24.  “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

I hate being double-minded, but I find so often that I am.

Here’s a scary thought.  If I can’t bring myself to trust God, who is 100% good, how can I trust any human, when we are all sinful?

James 1:22  “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

I love to read for pleasure.    I love to learn and I want to always be growing.  So I tend to read self-help type books.  But, I have to wonder how much of what I read actually sinks in.  My brain can only hold so much information.  So, is all of this learning a waste of time?  Especially when I can’t possibly put into action every thing that I read?  Should I focus on only reading the Bible for a time and putting into action what I’m reading?

James 1:26 “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”

When I was young, I loved a good conflict and I always had great comebacks.  I’ve since learned that being right or having the last word is not worth the harm it does to relationships.

What I struggle with lately is reining in the thoughts in my head.  I suppose God allowed us to have private thoughts for a reason.  We let hurtful things slip out of our mouths as it is.  How could we ever get past all the hurtful things that others think in their heads, if we actually knew their every thought?

Wow, this post is nothing like the one I outlined as I was reading over James 1.  It’s full of questions and no answers.  And I don’t have a way to neatly tie it up in a bow.  So I’ll just stop here for now.

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8 thoughts on “James 1: He is in control

  1. Oh my word, girl. I can totally relate to almost every word you wrote. The fear of bad things happening that I won’t be able to bear, quoting Mark 9:24 at myself over and over, wondering if I should just put all my books aside for a time and only read the Bible…

    Here’s my imperfect advice. I read once that God doesn’t give us grace for our imagination. For example, he’s not going to give me what I need to face the death of a child UNTIL it actually happens to me. So thinking/worrying/fretting about it before it happens is a waste. (besides the fact that it may never happen at all) So yes, I just keep saying, “Lord, help my unbelief” over and over and over and remind myself over and over and over that God loves me like CRAZY.

    You are sooooo not the only one who feels this way. I’ve had many, many discussions with friends and family members who have this exact fear.

    And as of yesterday, I’ve committed to memorizing the whole book of James. This has forced me to read Chapter 1 over and over and over again when I’d rather be reading something “fun.” I think this is going to be a really good thing for lots of reasons.

    Wow–didn’t mean to write so much. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, friend!

    • Marla, That is great advice about God not giving us Grace for our imaginations. I hadn’t heard that before, but I am going to try and cling to it!

      You go girl as far as memorizing the entire book. I am working on memorizing Psalm 32 and the way its going, I can’t imagine memorizing an entire book!

  2. I’ve wondered something similar – I love reading books about exercise, weight loss, and making myself a better Christian. When is the time to stop reading and start doing?

    • Brooke, I love that you’ve had that same thought. Honestly, this is the first time it ever dawned on me that maybe I need to stop reading and start doing. But, I sure hate the idea of not being able to kick back with a book to relax and read about doing what I should vs actually having to do it!

  3. I was going to say the same thing Marla said about God doesn’t give us grace for our imaginations. Marla, did we hear that in the same place????

    Thanks for a great post. I could soooo relate! That double minded thing smacks me in the face every time I read it (and other similar verses). I don’t want a double mind or a divided heart! Lord, fix me!

    P.S. I am a fellow read-along-er! 🙂

  4. I used to be in fear so much and harbored anger at God at all the things He had already allowed to come in to my life. However, after a near death experience, the eyes of my eyes were opened and I truly felt His presence in my heart and that His desire for me is good. This world is fallen and sinful and He allows bad things to happen. And then He becomes the Romans 8:28 God He promises to be and makes all those things work for ultimate good.
    Reading along with you 🙂

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