It's time to throw away the crutches.
Well . . . let me clarify. If you have a broken leg, by all means brace it, cast it, and prop it up. For that matter keep leaning on whatever or whoever is supporting you. I am not advocating some wild "name-it-and-claim-it" healing. But if your faith is wavering, that is a different matter.
What is wavering faith?
- It is a confidence in God that resembles Jell-O instead of the rock of Gibraltar.
- It is living like Doubting Thomas instead of daring greatly.
- It is tripping over a mountain of objections instead of living with mountain-moving faith.
Elijah knew all about wavering faith. God sent him to a nation on crutches. Everywhere Elijah looked people were doubting God: King Ahab, Obadiah the king's house manager, and especially the people of the kingdom. All were limping along when they should have been running hard after God. Not Elijah. The fleet-footed prophet challenged God's people to ditch their crutches and pursue the LORD.
How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God follow him. 1 Kings 18:21 ESV
Commenting on Elijah's choice of the word "limping" Paul House writes:
The prophet challenges the people to stop limping (pāsaḥ, translated “waver”) between two opinions—to decide who is God and then act on that decision. Obadiah is a good man trapped between two competing worldviews. Ahab is a king who may be wondering if his “ancestral” God is more powerful than his wife’s deity. The people are noncommittal at best. They “limp” along without conviction, wanting to follow halfheartedly one god and then the other.
How many days am I just like Israel? Limping along with little conviction I . . .
- Mouth a quick prayer at the restaurant (I don't to draw too much attention).
- Pass up the opportunity to share my faith (I don't want to push too hard).
- Refuse to engage the skeptic (I don't want to come off as ignorant).
- Fail to believe God for the impossible (I don't want to presume on God).
As much as I wish I were a sure-footed faith climber or a fleet-footed gazelle hopping over doubts and distractions, I pull out my crutches and limp -- some days believing, some days doubting.
What's the solution?
Interestingly, Elijah does not offer a lesson in apologetics. Instead, he tells people to take action: "Follow Him!" he cries. Elijah is calling on the faithless to toss the crutches and take a step of faith.
Seriously, how many times does God have to prove himself? His creation declares his glory. His word verifies his truthfulness. His work on the cross displays his love. Centuries of changed lives demonstrate he is God. "If the LORD is God follow him."
Following God is stepping out in obedience. Sometimes that step makes no sense, but we remember:
- The Jordan River stopped when the priest's toes touched the rushing water.
- Gideon defeated the Midianites when his army dropped their weapons.
- Peter walked on water when he stepped out of the boat.
Faith does not waver in doubt. Faith walks. It steps out in obedience and trust.
- Faith is praying when you don't feel like it. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- Faith is giving when it doesn't (humanly) make sense. 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
- Faith is asking for wisdom when you lack clarity. James 1:5
- Faith is pursuing purity when impurity seems far more fun. 1 Timothy 6:11
- Faith is pursuing Christ and his work even when culture frowns. 1 Corinthians 15:58
There is an alternative to limping along (wavering). Set your eyes on Jesus. Listen to that voice that calls out, "Follow me." Toss your crutches and take a step in His direction.
"The prophet challenges the people ..." from House, P. R. (1995). Vol. 8: 1, 2 Kings. The New American Commentary (218–219). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.