Letting Go of the Doubt in the Middle of the Storm

Letting Go of the Doubt in the Middle of the Storm

I’ve never been on a sinking ship, but I have been under a sinking jet ski. A few weeks ago, my family enjoyed some water recreation at a friend’s lake house. Through a series of unfortunate events, one of the jet skis started to sink. All of the adults zipped up a life vest and jumped in to try to hold it afloat. Man versus water is not my favorite scenario. The situation seemed a bit hopeless—a handful of adults fighting all of Lake Martin. I was humbled by the power of the water.

A sinking ship (or jet ski, as the case may be) provides an excellent analogy for those times in life we feel a loss of hope. I like to think I am all in with God’s plan for my life. But when a storm hits, and things aren’t going my way, doubt becomes my go-to emotion. While I say, “I trust you,” I scramble for security. I want a color-coordinated plan outlined in my calendar. I want to see the numbers add up in the checkbook. I want my plan to be His plan instead of the other way around.

Letting Go of Doubt in the Middle of the Storm

While Paul is en route to Rome, a northeaster hits the ship. The situation was hopeless: “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned” (Acts 27:20, ESV).  Everyone on board the ship gave up. Everyone except Paul. An angel of God visited him and assured him he would stand before Ceasar. Paul told the sailors of his vision, assured them of his faith in a God who delivers, and then blessed them with broken bread.

Our sailor friends had two choices. They could give up and go down with the ship, or trust in Paul’s God. They chose faith. In order to be saved from the storm, they had to lighten the load on the ship. In the middle of a violent storm, the sailors made the decision to cast off their anchors and leave them in the sea. The wheat intended to feed them also went overboard. They loosened the ropes tied to the rudders, allowing the storm to guide their ship.

Read the full story in Acts 27:13-44 and Acts 28:1-10.

Be a sailor with me for a minute. Waves crash into the side of the splintering ship. The roaring thunder assaults your ears. The wind drives the cold, stinging rain into your body. Darkness pushes in from above and below. And you release every provision on the ship. The anchor that might hold you, the wheat intended to feed you, and the rudders meant to guide you.

This is a picture of faith. The sailors gave in fully to God’s plan. They had nothing but the storm to guide them, trusting in a God who had full control of the storm. 

I tell God I trust Him, but I keep my anchors just in case I want to hold my position steady in the storm. I keep a firm grasp of my possessions out of fear that the God who sent manna in the desert won’t give me my daily bread tomorrow. I fight the current, trying to steer the ship in the direction I want it to go. I say I believe, but my actions tell another story.

When the storm tosses me around, I succumb to doubt instead of believing the One who rules the storm.

What if, instead of doubt, we choose faith? Cut the ropes to the anchor so we can move forward. Release our grip on our resources, choosing generosity over hoarding. Let the current of God’s will take us where every need will be met and every vision fulfilled.

Letting Go of the Doubt in the Middle of the Storm

My friends and I were able to right the jet ski and push it onto a mechanical lift. After a little work and dumping a lot of water, the jet ski was back out on top of the water, running better than before the near-sinking episode.

Our sailor friends have a happy ending, too. Their ship is lost, just as Paul predicted. But not a single mate perishes. They swim ashore and are greeted by the natives of Malta, an unusually kind people (Acts 28:1-2). While there, Paul heals the chief and the people of their diseases. Because of this, the natives restock their ship before Paul and the crew set sail for Rome. God used the storm to make things better than before. He met the needs of the people of Malta and the needs of the sailors.

As we sit in darkness, hearing the thunder and feeling the driving rain, we have two choices: hold onto our perceived control and go down with the ship, or release everything and let God use this storm to take us exactly where He wants us.

What do you need to release? Are you holding tight to your position, your possessions, your control? Let’s cut the ropes and toss it all overboard!

Photo credit: Jean-Pierre Brungs and Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash.

27 Comments

  1. What a challenging and encouraging post. Love this -> “Let the current of God’s will take us where every need will be met and every vision fulfilled.” Such a beautiful picture of submission to God’s will. My son’s favorite song right now is “Eye of the Storm” by Ryan Stevenson … so comforting. Blessings!

  2. I can so relate to saying I trust God, but still scrambling for security when the storms blow. So glad to hop over from #RaRaLinkUp.

  3. Love this. God has taught me faith through a prolonged wilderness season. Even though it has been one of the hardest times in my life I’m so grateful for the storms because my faith in Him being the provider of all my needs, trusting Him on a daily basis concerning where the next meal is going to come from in this time of unemployment, & learning to rely on Him to with everything out for good no matter how bad it gets has been an invaluable gift.

    • I think gratitude is a natural response when you get through a storm. In that place of hindsight, we can see God’s provisions and maybe even some of the reasons we had to go through the storm.

  4. What a great read! I especially loved these parts…

    “What if, instead of doubt, we choose faith? Cut the ropes to the anchor so we can move forward. Release our grip on our resources, choosing generosity over hoarding. Let the current of God’s will take us where every need will be met and every vision fulfilled.”

    “God used the storm to make things better than before.”

    I have seen these so many times in my own walk with God. Another thing I learned while going through the storms is that others are watching us, especially our children. It has been wonderful to see our children respond with trust and faith when they went through similar storms after us, knowing how God met our needs.

  5. I know exactly what you mean, I struggled for months and suddenly realized I really needed to hand everything over to God, it was exactly what I needed and He is blessing me even more every day.

  6. Kelly, Kelly, Kelly! You just have a way of speaking to my soul when I read your words. With an ever-changing life right now, I am having a hard time not taking the reigns of control back. I am most definitely a control freak and I’m a creature of habit. I’m not one who screams for joy when change comes. And in three weeks I get married, and life will be changing SO much! Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled and can’t wait to spend my life with Josh. But I am worried about all the changes. New house, new “roomie”, new name, new routine. Josh and I will have to get used to the physical part of marriage as that will be all new for us as couple; it’s just so much change. I’ve really been dealing with fear of all that change. These words of your are just the reminder I needed. “It will be better than before.” Clinging to these words of hope today friend!

    • Keri, it will be wonderful and scary all at once. In three weeks, my husband and I celebrate eighteen years of marriage. Even after all this time, changes around us and in us make it necessary to keep cutting the ropes of control. I’m praying God will flood you with His peace in the coming weeks!

  7. I’m speechless. I can so relate! This especially resonated with me:

    “While I say, “I trust you,” I scramble for security. I want a color-coordinated plan outlined in my calendar. I want to see the numbers add up in the checkbook. I want my plan to be His plan instead of the other way around.”

    Sometimes I hand my life to the Lord just to try and take it back – without even realizing it.
    Thank you for sharing this!

  8. I can definitely attest to the fact that God uses the storm to make things better. Five years ago, my husband lost his job and was unemployed for almost two years. Somewhere along the way, I discovered I needed to (and could) trust God through it. That time was truly a blessing in disguise! I always want the color coordinated planner too when storms hit. 🙂 Thank you for your words and wisdom!

    • Marisa, I appreciate your testimony to the faithfulness of our God. It is something I know in my head; stories like yours help solidify it in my heart.

  9. What a powerful teaching and reminder…I can relate to grabbing first to doubt then only by God’s grace to turn and choose faith. God’s ways are mysterious. Blessings to you and thank you!

  10. Very thought-provoking and well written! Nice job!

    -Emma
    Imhislittle.com

  11. Kelly, doubt so easily takes me captive. Doubt had taught me to lean in more, Pray fervently, and proclaim the truth out loud to myself. This was just what I needed to read today! Thank you for your encouraging words of truth! I will definitely be checking out your other post on doubt too!

  12. Ohhhhh, that letting go is so scary. It’s not natural to our bend at all. I feel like just as soon as I’m letting go of one thing, somehow I’ve picked up the reins of another to which I can hold tightly! But I know within my spirit, that when I let go, I am better off. The stress and the worry is lifted and I can live with peace. Even in the storm! Thank you, Kelly, for this wonderful hope-filled post! I don’t get to stop by often enough, but I am always blessed by your words when I do!

  13. Your words are speaking to me. I’m going through my storm and I say I trust you Lord, but I start to doubt. Reading this reminded me that it’s God’s plan his way, not mine that I need to trust.

    • Doesn’t it feel like a moment-by-moment decision to let go? Fear hits in waves causing us to grab for control. I’m thankful God is patient with us as we learn how to believe!

  14. Hi Kelly! It’s one thing to let go of doubt AFTER a storm … it takes a whole other kind of faith to do so right smack dab in the MIDDLE of the madness.

    Inspiring words …

  15. So relevant and needed by so many Kelly, thank you for sharing!

  16. Kelly, that was so well written and thought through. I appreciate the Bible story. How well I relate to the struggle! Thank you.

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