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A Little Bit of Doubt
When I was ten years old, my mom broke the news to me that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny were fake. It was a heartbreaking conversation that left me calling her a liar and doubting every single word she said from there on out.
In reply, my mom asked me if I would have rather known from the beginning that they were not real, or if I still would have chosen to believe, even for just the first few years of my childhood. I pondered this question for a long time. I was hurt and felt like I could not trust her. And in my anger, I sulked away, thinking maybe she was right. What was the harm in belief if it would bring me those few years of great joy?
While there are many debates about the answer to this question, I suppose I would still pray to believe. The joy that comes from that childlike faith in something we cannot see is priceless. And perhaps that is exactly what also draws many of us to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
We cannot see Him, but like the air, we know He is there.
We cannot feel His warm embrace, yet we are called to trust the Father’s arms.
We are told He’s always watching us, but we have never seen His eyes.
We are told He hears us, but have we ever seen His ears?
We do not like to admit it, but all of us from time to time doubt Him. We struggle to see His plans when things do not turn out the way we thought they would.
To Those Who Doubt
So to those of you who doubt, I want to tell you this: Jesus still welcomes you. He does not mock our disbelief but invites us closer. And not only does He bring peace, but He challenges us to get up close and personal. To touch His wounds and nail-scarred hands–the most intimate parts of Him. He’s not afraid of our questions. But He does offer us something great in exchange for them.
When Jesus revealed Himself to Thomas, nicknamed Didymus, or Doubting Thomas, in John 20:24-31, He said these words: “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe” (John 20:27b, New Living Translation)!
Jesus did not start His conversation with Thomas by rebuking him to believe, but by saying, “Come on, get close, find out for yourself if I am who I say I am.” And once Thomas experienced Jesus, he faithfully declared, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28, New Living Translation).
But Jesus told him, “you believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me” (John 20:29, New Living Translation, emphasis added).
He asks the same of us today.
Friends, Jesus welcomes your questions and doubts. And if you do not take Thomas’ word for it, take mine. I ask Him one hundred and one questions all the time:
-Why is this happening?
-Why did I have to get sick?
-Why are my fiance and I struggling?
-Why has calamity hit my home?
-Why won’t my anxiety just go away?
The list grows every day. But I am encouraged by Thomas’ story to know that Jesus doesn’t disown or look down on me for doubting. In fact, He welcomes it. But, blessed are we for believing when we cannot see. How much greater and deeper is the faith?
The Measure of Faith
It takes a little faith to predict snow when the weatherman shows the forecast.
It takes much faith to declare rain will fall on a desert land when you see a cloud the size of a penny (1 Kings 18-19) (specifically chapter 18, verses 44-46).
It takes a little faith to declare the promises of God when our deliverance comes right here, right now.
It takes a lot of faith to declare freedom, restoration, and God’s Word when we are still waiting for deliverance to come.
And how much sweeter will that fruit taste when it finally arrives? When the rain comes, the flowers bloom, and the healing is eternally seen.
It is Okay to Doubt, But It Is Better To Believe Without Sight
Doubting Thomas teaches us it is 100% okay to doubt, but how much greater are we who learn to believe even, and especially when, we still haven’t received our sight?
Our God is not slow in making His promises–even for those of us who doubt! And whether our answers come here on earth, or in Heaven, the character, Word, and nature of God never change.
“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (2 Peter 3:8-9, New Living Translation).
While the context of this verse is referencing the time of God’s return, I still believe the same principle applies. God is not slow in keeping and fulfilling His promises to those of us who doubt. Great is the reward for those who still believe in the end, even without having sight. For it is not the eyes that help us see Him, but our hearts that compel us to believe.
“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body” (2 Corinthians 5:1-10, New Living Translation).