second (adj): alternate, other, inferior, subordinate
thought (noun): something imagined or pictured in the mind; consideration
“Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you are going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.” James 1: 6-7
This verse challenges me to the point that I kind of want to skip right past it. My “second thoughts” feel comfortable, safe. They come with an extra sense of security that I think I need when I am waiting on God. I don’t know if I can give them up.
Because sometimes when I pray, I just can’t let go of my doubt. I guess I hold onto it because I want to protect myself from being disappointed by what God does or does not do. I’m pretty good at imagining ways that I can work things out for myself if God doesn’t come through.
If he doesn’t provide I could maybe…
If he doesn’t open up the opportunity, I will try…
If it takes too long, I might…
If God doesn’t come through?
Where is my faith? Where is my trust?
I like to think that it is completely in Jesus, nothing–and no one–else. But sometimes I realize that I am fatefully reliant on myself. Plans B or C might turn out okay. Options 2, 3, and maybe even 4 might work out…
What kind of thinking is that? It seems to me that my second thoughts are more like second-guesses. Am I second-guessing God? Of course I want to be open to his surprises and redirections and unexpected answers, but do I deep down believe that my own options are bigger, broader, or better than his?
So many Bible stories show God’s people learning (mostly the hard way) that our second thoughts really are inferior to his. Moses. Jonah. Peter. Thomas. Martha…the list goes on and on. As we read, we realize that trying to keep afloat on doubt and worry makes us like “wind-whipped waves”. Glancing all around, changing directions, going nowhere fast. Desperately missing the closeness and security that comes when God alone is our safe harbor.
So let’s keep trying to pray with boldness, according to his will and his word. Trusting his spirit to lead our desires and prayers to be in line with his. Counting on him and not on our back-up plans. He knows us so much better than we know ourselves. He knows all that has ever happened and everything that is ahead of us, and he alone has the wisdom and power to work all things together for our good.
I want my first and second and every thought to be based on the truth that God is in control, his timing is perfect, and his ways are always best.
Invite Him in:
Ask Jesus to be your first thought today. Ask him to clear away every “what-if” that interrupts your heart and mind when you try to pray. Let him be your solid rock when life is shaky, your hiding place when you are overwhelmed, and your anchor in the storm. You don’t need to rely on back-up plans or second thoughts when God is the one who holds your life–and your heart–in his hands.