A Candle in the Wind: James 1:6
Previous verse: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
I've never been to the ocean myself, but I've seen enough movies and read enough books to know what a storm-tossed wave looks like. Rising and falling in mountains and valleys, sending wild sighs of spray into the air, peaking against a stormy sky before crumbling in upon itself and dissolving into ripples, out of all control and torn between the wild forces of nature.
It's not a peaceful picture, or a comforting one. In fact, it's pretty much the diametric opposite. But James lets us know through this verse and its picture that those who "waver" in their faith are just like the wind-tossed sea. Whether doubting God or coming to Him with divided loyalties, when we waver in our faith we can't have peace or calm assurance. We are jostled, overturned, overwhelmed by anxieties, doubts and trials because we have no ANCHOR, no strong faith to hold us steady in the storm.
Waver: to vacillate irresolutely between choices; fluctuate in opinion, allegiance, or direction; to weave or sway unsteadily to and fro; quiver; flicker; falter.
Irresolutely~ when our faith is wavering, it's hard to be sure of anything. Steadfast faith allows us to trust in God's will and guidance to show us the way, but without that anchor the path before us can look confusing and unclear. In order to be sure of any step we take in this life, we need to be sure of God.
Allegiance~ If we're asking God to help us through the storm but giving our loyalty to the things of this world, how can we expect to see deliverance when we're not giving God our full allegiance? How often do we try to solve our own problems or find our own solutions, then toss a quick prayer up to heaven as a back-up plan and get upset when we see no results? God wants our full faith, and that means our full loyalty. We waver when we turn to the world as if His power isn't enough.
Unsteady~ Just like a wave is unsteady in the wind, we are on shaky ground when we don't have faith to anchor us in Christ. Nothing we claim to believe has much value if we aren't living anchored lives, and people can see through a wavering faith when it leaves us just as worried and anxious as those who don't have God.
Flicker~ We are the light of the world, the candles Jesus calls to shine his light for all to see. But our Christian light can't beam out when we're wavering in our faith. It will flicker and sputter to those around us, showing our human weakness instead of our strength in Christ, and rendering our witness ineffective. Some of the best witnessing is done in the middle of the storms, when we endure trials by glorifying God and shining lights that don't flicker, even when the wind is blowing.
Mish, Frederick C. Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. 9th ed., Merriam-Webster Inc., 1983.