I have a good friend who is a Rabbi for the Air Force. One day, we got into a rather lengthy conversation about God’s will and how it affects our lives. Being in the military isn’t an easy choice and one neither of us took lightly. We both enlisted for the same reason—called by God. In my case, I’m not sure why He did, but I definitely felt the calling.
Enlistment can be a little scary, because you’re making a leap of faith that everything will be okay, and you know you’ll be giving up a large part of your free will. Most military members don’t stay too long in one location, generally only a few years at a time. That kind of constant change for 20 years takes its toll on relationships. Not to mention the early morning calls to report to duty, the standards you must maintain, and getting used to constantly wearing a hat.
He’s weathering the adventure fairly well because he knows he’s doing what God wants him to. So, what’s the problem? It’s all good, right? Not quite. There is that family separation thing, wife and children in one location—him in another. That’s tough. I went through that a while myself and it’s not easy. The separation isn’t the hardest thing about it; the hardest thing is the doubt. The self-doubt. Wondering if you made the right decision. So, you start questioning.
That’s so dangerous, because it opens a door. Have you ever accidentally spilled some sugar on your kitchen cabinet without noticing it? I have. And lo and behold, the next day, sure enough…ants. Now if my cats would do what they’re supposed to, they’d lick up the sugar, but I suppose sugar isn’t high on their list of edible foods. Ants love it. Those nasty little red ones. The ones that never go away. Seems like you kill them and tomorrow they’ve brought in reinforcements. Eventually if you’re persistent enough, you’ll win the war without having to call in the big gun. A pest exterminator. One time, I didn’t win the battle and had to call in my own reinforcement. As he was spraying all over the kitchen and putting out ant traps, I am almost positive I heard them laughing. A few days later, they poked their heads out again and started partying in my kitchen.
So, we called in exterminator number two, who complained about the job the first guy did. She took out all his ant traps and put in a different kind of her own. The first had been extremely ineffective, so I was pleased. The cats weren’t too happy, because the other kind was easier to carry all around the house as toys. (I’m still finding them in weird places!) Oddly enough, though, as she was working, I didn’t hear the ants. And I never saw them again. I guess the moral of that story is you must have the right equipment to get the job done. Or call the right people.
The moral of this story? Doubt is like ants. You start with one small doubt and pretty soon, you hear multiple voices talking to you and undermining your faith, your convictions, and your purpose. In other words, the ants start mocking you and your feeble attempts to eradicate them. Like the ants, that tiny little doubt calls in reinforcements and pretty soon you’re in a full-blown crisis. Not a good thing.
My advice? Call in the big guns. Nothing stamps out ants faster than a good exterminator and nothing stamps out doubt faster than faith. Faith is life’s exterminator. And the beautiful thing about it is you don’t have to mortgage the house to use its services. Faith is free to all who choose to use it. Not many things in life are free and certainly nothing as effective as a good, strong dose of faith. What a bargain! Ask and ye shall receive.
When life hands you a dilemma, you have two options. Give in to it or solve the problem. Sometimes the solution to the problem is as simple as asking and the answer is as close as your knees. You might not get the answer you want but it will be the right one. Always is. That’s the faith part. Knowing that faith will take away your doubts. Oh, sure, you can try other things, but I guarantee you that most things you attempt will just end up being the equivalent of cat toys. Entertainment for the cats and totally useless to you.
When you stop looking up and start looking down, you open a door. All doubt needs is one little crack in your will to eat away at your soul. My advice to my Rabbi friend and to those of you who might be feeling you’re fighting the battle alone? Three things. 1—Be still and know that He is God and He is in your corner. 2—Keep looking up and you’ll never see how far you might fall. 3—If you spill sugar in the kitchen…clean it up!