“Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.” Paul Tillich
In a recent sermon, “I Believe In God, But …,” I heard an encouraging word for us doubters.
I spent most of my life relating a little too much to Doubting Thomas, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples in the Bible. I don’t remember ever doubting whether Jesus existed or whether He worked miracles, but I did doubt whether He’d do them for me. I doubted His goodness because bad things happened. I doubted His love because I couldn’t feel it.
Our pastor talked about how sometimes Jesus passes up the faithful to get to us. When He showed up in the room full of disciples for the second time since His death, He didn’t focus on Peter who walked on water, John who soaked in every word He said, nor Matthew who left a prestigious job to follow Him. He found and focused on Thomas.
Here’s the story of Jesus appearing to Thomas.
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:24-28 NIV
I prayed during dozens of sleepless nights to trust Him, to have that little bit of faith mentioned in Matthew 17:20 – faith the size of a mustard seed. Maybe I did, but didn’t recognize it for what it was until last year. Maybe I didn’t have faith until I became desperate enough to step out in it.
Either way, I joined a new church because they opened up first after the pandemic shut down everything. There is where I heard from God like I’ve never heard from Him before.
There is also where I began following Prophet Jim Reilly. He talked last week about being healed overnight from his drug addiction around age 30, yet his son still struggles after much prayer and promises from God.
My friends of 45 years just lost their 30-year-old son to addiction. His mom tried harder than any mother I know to free him, but she couldn’t and God didn’t, at least not the way she hoped.
Jim’s a prophet who doesn’t know why. Lisa’s a believing parent who can’t answer the question either.
It’s believers like them and my church people and my faithful family and friends who help me trust not out of blind faith or ignorance, but because they’re informed by the Bible and through their connection with Jesus, and they still have questions.
When I finally stopped trying hard, gave up my doubt, and gave into faith, I looked up and “There Was Jesus” (Zach Williams and Dolly Parton). He showed up in such extraordinary ways, I couldn’t question Him anymore.
How’s your faith holding up? Doubting is okay as long as we’re not satisfied to stay stuck there.
In This Together,