At 54, I still have a penchant for kid’s cereal and animated movies. Thank goodness for grandchildren! They give me a legitimate reason to have both Captain Crunch and Walt Disney around the house.
I think one of the best animated movies is Shrek. My favorite character is Donkey, the ogre’s hilarious sidekick brought to life by Eddie Murphy.
In a classic scene where he moves in with a very skeptical Shrek, Donkey excitedly tells the ogre all the things they’ll do together. He ends the list by saying “This is gonna be fun. We can stay up late, swappin’ manly stories, and in the mornin’, I’m makin’ waffles!”
My four grands love to hear those words come out of my mouth—in my best Donkey imitation, of course. They know we’re going to wake up the next morning, fire up the waffle iron and create these wonderful breakfast delights topped with berries and syrup and “snow” (powdered sugar).
I make waffles a lot. Sometimes the Belgian type. More often, the decision type.
Waffling has for me become a bit of an art form. I make up my mind, then allow people or struggles or circumstances to unmake it.
It is too easy to let what is uncertain and unpredictable make me uneasy with what is unchanging and unfailing.
When life changes course it is tempting to change my mind. Truths that rooted me in the past seem to lose their grip in moments of question, delay or pain.
So I waffle on what I believe.
Uncertainty is disconcerting. It makes me feel both rootless and wingless—disconnected like a ship floating without an anchor; disoriented like a plane flying without instruments. In seasons of challenge or change what I believe enough to base my life on is stretched to the limit.
Jesus’ friends experienced this kind of apprehensive doubt when they were boating across the Sea of Galilee. A nasty storm turned the calm waters into a boiling cauldron. And while they were struggling to keep the boat floating, Jesus was in the hold of the boat napping.
The immediate question that erupted in their minds exploded from their mouths: “Lord, don’t you care?” Forget everything they had seen Him do—the passion He showed when He called them, the miracles He’d performed for the hurting, the way He taught with such authority and insight. At that moment He was asleep on the job.
Jesus’ response to His ambivalent followers was simple: “‘Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?’ Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.” (Matthew 8:26).
Jesus wasn’t being harsh or demeaning. He simply was pointing out that fear created by an uncertain future can easily shrink faith so it’s too small to fit the need of the moment.
In the maze of insecurity, God wants me to love Him because He is God. He wants me to trust Him because He is good.
It is not always easy to cling to the fact that God has my future perfectly mapped out and fully ordered. Providence is difficult to embrace when my world seems out of control. He does not often show me much beyond the next step, so it is easy to lose hold of those lifelines in the storm.
But His Word emphatically declares that He has an absolute commitment to making me what He dreamed that I would be. His changeless love and timeless plan are not altered by storms or struggles or suffering.
In the moments of my real life when I am tempted to allow hardship to alter my view of God and erode my understanding of His grace, I have learned to unequivocally affirm these things:
- He loves me and there is nothing I can do about that.
- He wants the best for me and nothing I face changes that.
- He has a plan for me and I won’t doubt in the dark what He has shown me in the light.
- He is with me and nothing I encounter will scare Him away.
- He never changes and who He was yesterday I can trust tomorrow.
It is normal and acceptable to have doubts during seasons of uncertainty. God is not afraid of or upset by my fearful questions. But God never makes mistakes. I’ll never hear him say “didn’t see that coming” or “what do I do now?”
Remember: “Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
At those points of uncertainty where I am tempted to let circumstance shake my confidence, I keep myself rooted in three facts:
He is God.
He is good.
He has never made a waffle!