God didn't grant a prayer request I thought He should have, and I commenced to doubting him again, so I planned to talk it over with a friend who always talks me out of my unbelief.
But soon I realized that in order to carry out my plan, it was necessary to hold onto and to nurse my unbelief until such time as I could meet my friend. The oddity of that struck me for the first time. I have, of course, done it many times before, but now I could see the unseemliness in it.
Now Hebrews warns us against spiritual laziness. We should "not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (6:12). I suddenly saw that a potential problem with the Christian counseling enterprise, at least for yours truly, was that I felt no need to fight the good fight on my own but was content to wallow in my doubt until such time as was convenient to meet with a certified counselor and be talked out of it. In fact, I was forced to go out of my way to keep stoking the fires of that doubt and to hone it to an eloquent point for discussion. If at any juncture along the way the Holy Spirit had wanted to chime in with a word of enlightenment, I daresay he would not have found a wedge.
In the same way, it is a fact that in the moments that one is with great pathos lamenting to one's neighbor over the weakness of one's faith---or the smallness of one's love---in that moment he is necessarily not vying or praying for greater faith and love. He has in effect frozen in aspic a condition for examination, when what we are called to is to spend every moment pursuing God and His commands. The moaner is reinforcing the very condition he purports to be lamenting.
One develops the injurious habit of living in a continual postponement of obedience. Far better to say to one's soul and to God, with the Psalmist, no matter how one is feeling: "I will trust in you" (Psalm 56:3). There are just a frightful number of ways we have of not living in the present, which is the only place of actualization, the only place to please our God.
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