When I was a little girl, I would stare at my purple-flowered wallpaper and contemplate the meaning of faith. I was comforted that I didn’t need much faith—I only needed faith the size of a mustard seed, which I learned was very small. My hope was quickly dashed when I discovered faith couldn’t contain any doubt. Why would it even matter to have a tiny amount of faith in the first place if doubt would end up ruining everything in the long run? If that weren’t bad enough, I soon discovered the epistle of James:

But he must ask in faith, without any doubts, for the one who has doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. Such a person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all he undertakes.”

I still think it was logical to deduce as I did at age 10, that it was better not to ask God for anything. I already knew I wouldn’t receive it. And worse, I would then be double-minded, unstable, and tossed about like a wave of the sea. My one saving thought was that this passage might not apply to me as it only contained male pronouns.

I wish I could report that my understanding of faith matured in adulthood. But for years, I was plagued with doubts and the consequences of my doubts. It didn’t help when—faced with risky decisions—I’d be chided with comments such as, “Where’s your faith?”

It wasn’t until I began to understand the overarching story of God’s grace, the mega narrative, the big picture, that many of these passages began to make sense. And while I still don’t understand everything about faith, doubt, and double-mindedness, I’ve learned something far more important.

Being in Christ means I can take a deep breath, relax and not have to figure everything out. I am safe in him. His righteousness, his goodness and everything else that belongs to him is given to me. He’s got me covered. The same goes for every one of us who claim Christ’s righteousness on our behalf.

So what’s bothering you today? What problem are you trying to solve? What is making you restless? Listen to the words of Jesus in Matthew 11.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


**Pic above: Shari with her older sister Debi Thompson Mangiameli.