How many of you have ever struggled with doubting some characteristic of God or some action of God in the past or present? The statistics would suggest that if you are not already raising your hand, you will at some point in the future. It is important to be honest with yourself, because doubt left to grow limits your view of God. It is only when God is in full view that the fullness of this present life is possible.
You have likely heard the saying that “seeing is believing”. Let me offer another, Belief without seeing is faith. Now before anyone runs too far with that statement, let me offer another thought: Belief without basis is a trap for challenge without response. (1 Peter 3:15) The sweet spot of faith must then lie somewhere between the crippling position of absolute proof before response and the equally perilous place of reaction without reason. I am proposing that the middle ground is an open, and well used, God created mind. I hope today I am writing to those who consider themselves faithful followers of Jesus Christ as well as some who feel no need to seek God’s forgiveness. Blind spots are limited vision of many types that we all fall victim to at some point. However, God opens the eyes of those who are willing to walk with him. God draws all to himself and gives to each what is needed to cross from doubt to belief.
Though there are many examples we could test, let’s just jump in deep with a difficult question. Do you believe one of the cores of the Christian confession: that God raised Jesus from the dead? Do you believe he was actually dead and resurrected from the grave, or is the miraculous beyond your willingness to trust? What I am really asking you to evaluate is can the creator God step into the natural and do something absolutely super-natural? During the historical enlightenment period there was an effort to map every super-natural Biblical event to a natural explanation. This was a very conscious and open effort to wrestle with doubts about super-natural events that led to a very limited view of God. Too often our doubts are rooted in unconscious limitation we have placed on God. When we doubt the resurrection of Jesus, we will live with uncertainty over God’s power, the trustworthiness of Jesus words, and the way of salvation. (Mark 8:31, Romans 10:9-10) Then when some challenge to our faith occurs we retreat from the security and peace of faith in Christ to a place of disillusioned uncertainty. Until we wrestle with our doubts, they secretly discredit the ways God revealed His power in the past and the ways He continues to operate in the present.
So, let me encourage you today to doubt like Thomas. It is recorded in the book of John chapter 20 that after Jesus’ resurrection the following occurred:
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:19-29 ESV)
Thomas deals head on with his doubt and the end result is walking in faith. Thomas was honest enough with his struggle to say what he was thinking and apparently resolved enough to remain with the people who already believed. Eight days later Jesus returns and does just the opposite of what one might expect. Instead of ridiculing Thomas for his doubt, he offers him a way out. So, doubt like Thomas; deal with your doubt in the open and remain with the people who are strong in their faith. God gives to each what is needed to cross from doubt to belief and opens the eyes of those who are willing to walk with him.