God, Have Mercy

Stan Mast

READ : Luke 18:9-14

God, have mercy on me, a sinner. (v. 13 NIV)

Is doubt a virtue? I doubt it, if Jesus tells us to stop. Well, then, is doubt a sin? It might be, or it might not be, depending on what kind of doubt it is. I’ll talk about species of doubt in the coming days.

But let’s now consider how we can stop doubting. The end of the story we’ve been considering from Matthew 14 (Peter’s walking on the water) points us in the right direction. When Jesus and Peter climbed into the boat, the wind immediately died down. Then everyone in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God” (v. 33).

The ultimate cure for doubt is to fix the eyes of our small faith on the greatness of Jesus. Compared to him, the storms of life are nothing. He may seem to be missing in action. Or he may come to us on the waves. Or he may still the storm with a word (Matt. 8). But because he truly is the Son of God, he always reaches out and catches the doubter who cries for mercy.

That is the one prayer God always answers, whether it comes from believers, doubters, or unbelievers. “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” That’s the last word on doubt for now: mercy. As Jesus responded to Peter, we must respond to a doubter not with anger or rejection, but with mercy, even if that doubter is our own self. Jesus showed mercy. So must we.

PRAYER

God, have mercy on me, a sinner, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.