John 20:29 (ESV)
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Doubting is the natural inclination of the human psyche. We have all doubted somewhere, someplace, at something. The problem is not doubting, but how one responds to the doubt.
The New Testament writers highlight the event of the apostle Thomas who was not with the other disciples when Jesus first appeared to them after the resurrection. When they shared the event with Thomas, his response as stated from John 20:25 was:
“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 when Thomas was with the group, Jesus again appeared. “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’ responded with the words “My Lord and my God.” (Wouldn’t you?)
Thomas doubted because his belief system over time verified that dead people do not come back from the dead. When people die, they are dead. End of story. However, when confronted with proof before him, reality changed for Thomas. Jesus, who was dead, now stood before him. The injuries to his body remained as a walking billboard confirming HE was HE and not an imposter. Thomas’ doubt dissipated into belief.
Doubt is not the enemy of belief, but another hypothesis to investigate. Our beliefs will always come sprinkled with doubt. There is always something new we discover or learn which will either strengthen our core or question the validity. The challenge is keeping the doubt in perspective while our belief system remains central as we unpack the doubt before us.
I recall in my early walks when challenged by circumstances questioning the very existence of God. When HE did not immediately respond to my prayers or allowed me to walk through the valley of evil, I questioned whether HE existed. Yet, each time I would review the fundamental basics of my beliefs, ponder over the evidence one more time, and still conclude, yes, HE exists. Afterward, it would then leave me with the question, what is it that I do not understand? Again, over time, lessons from life are learned, the relationship & trust with our Triune God becomes stronger, and even when another doubt is thrown our way, we now catch it, file it in the study drawer, and begin the process to gather the evidence to substantiate the facts.
Unpacking doubt will lead you to the truth; and the truth will always lead you to God. So, if you are wrong somewhere in your beliefs, God will eventually show you. Until then, we let doubt have its place as an instrument of discovering more of HIM, HIS ways, and HIS truth. Otherwise, doubt becomes the force which may eventually separate us from the ONE who sustains the central core of life.
Again, every person will face doubt. The question is how will you respond? Eve took Satan’s bait and instead of directly discussing the situation with God, turned doubt into a poor choice. On the other hand, King David through his writings of Psalms, makes multiple mentions of doubting but always confronting God with the issues. His life, though not perfect, demonstrates how doubt is best managed. God knows your dilemma, doubts, and troubles. Take it up with HIM and watch how HE directs your steps to find the answers which will only strengthen you and mature you in your walk with HIM.
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