(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 11, A Doubtful and Unbelieving Mind, of Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question and/or scripture below this post. Let's dig deep and join together to fight this battle!)
When God promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, Abraham believed him. God had also said, "Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars," even though such a promise seemed utterly impossible! And Abraham's faith did not weaken, even though he knew that he was too old to be a father at the age of one hundred and that Sarah, his wife, had never been able to have children. Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything he promised. And because of Abraham's faith, God declared him to be righteous. - Romans 4:18-22 (Life Application Study Bible)
"All right, come," Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. "Save me, Lord." he shouted. Instantly Jesus reached out his hand and grabbed him. "You don't have much faith," Jesus said. "Why did you doubt me?" And then they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. -Matthew 14:29-32 (Life Application Study Bible)
In the previous chapters, we've learned our minds go through many conditions which keep us from living the life that God wants us to live. These mindsets include a wandering, wondering mind and a confused mind. This week, Joyce introduces us to another condition of our minds...a doubtful and unbelieving mind.
Doubt and unbelief...that's a deadly combination if you ask me. When you doubt something, that means you're not too sure if it can happen or not. When you have unbelief in your mind, that means you believe it can not happen. Either one is not a good condition for our mind to be. Unfortunately, Satan uses both of these to try to keep us from having faith.
There are so many good points that Joyce teaches in Chapter 11. Instead of listing them on here, I encourage you to read this chapter several times to really let it sink in.
However, I would like to talk about two very important people that Joyce mentions in Chapter 11....Peter and Abraham. We can learn a lot about our mindsets in dealing with autism by looking back at Peter and Abraham.
Let's start with Abraham. Joyce writes on page 107..."Abraham had been given a promise by God that He would cause him to have an heir from his own body. Many years had come and gone and still there was no child as a result of Abraham and Sarah's relationship. Abraham was still standing in faith, believing what God had said would come to pass. As he stood, he was being attacked with thoughts of doubt, and the spirit of unbelief was pressing him to disobey God." I believe that disobedience in Abraham's case means that Satan wanted him to give up on having a child. Sure, Abraham wasn't perfect. He made his fair share of mistakes. I'm sure he had his moments when unbelief and doubt had a hold of his mind. However, he had faith that God would give him a child no matter how old he was. He kept faithfully pushing forward through all of the storms that came his way. Satan knows how dangerous we are when we have faith. As Joyce writes on page 107, "...so he attacks us with doubt and unbelief."
Which brings us to Peter's story. Immediately after Jesus feeds the five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, he sent them all home. Jesus then made the disciples, including Peter, get on the boat and cross to the other side of the lake. At night time, Jesus decided to go up in the hills to pray by himself. During this time, the winds grew stronger causing the waves in the water to rock the disciples in the boat. Jesus came to them walking on water. The disciples thought he was a ghost. Peter asked Jesus to command him to get out of the boat and walk to Jesus. Jesus did. So Peter got out of the boat. However, doubt and unbelief quickly overtook Peter and he started to sink when he looked at the waves surrounding him. He then shouts to Jesus and asks him to save him. Joyce writes on page 109, "Peter made a mistake; he spent too much time looking at the storm. He became frightened. Doubt and unbelief pressed in on him , and he began to sink."
What if Abraham's mindset was full of doubt and unbelief like Peter's? What if he doubted and didn't believe God's promise that he would have a son. What if he would have looked at the facts surrounding him...his age, his wife's inability to have children? What if he let doubt and unbelief take over his mindset?
We can ask ourselves these same questions with autism. What if I allow doubt and unbelief to creep in and keep me from believing that my child can get better? What if I start doubting that God wants me to reach out to others during this time? What if I only look at the facts surrounding me...my child's age, where he is compared to other children? What would happen in my life, better yet, what would happen in my child's life if I let doubt and unbelief take over my mindset?
You see, only you know what God wants and needs for you to do in your life and through this storm we call autism. Maybe it's to reach out to other moms like yourself. Maybe it's to learn how to reconnect and play again. Maybe it's to share the Word of God with therapists and teachers. No matter what God asks of you, have faith. Like Peter, He wants us to get out of the boat, trust in Him and have faith. However, let's not be like Peter where we look around, get overwhelmed and start sinking as we look at the waves surrounding us in this storm of autism. Let's have faith that God is with us to help us through this storm.
The last thing I wanted to add that just really stood out for me in this chapter was on page 111. Joyce was sharing with us a story about her pastor and how he was wavering between two options in his life. He was given advice from another pastor that I am going to start doing in my life...."Go somewhere, get quite and still, then turn your head off. Look into your heart, see what is there, and do it!" I believe by doing this as well as by staying in the Word of God, we will know when God is talking to us and encouraging us to FAITHFULLY do something. We also be able to recognize when Satan is trying to fill our minds with doubt and unbelief.
Thank you for teaching us how to have a mindset for you, full of faith. Help us to cast out any doubt or unbelief and to press forward for you. Encourage us to find our quiet time and place to spend with you and hear from you what we can faithfully do for you.
It's in your name we pray,