Living with Doubt
God of Resurrection, my sins are washed away, death has been conquered, and You have given me the gift of life.
Read John 20:24-31
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it” (Timothy Keller).
Thomas is a great character to focus on because of his doubt: we identify with him. And, thanks to his doubt, we have additional proof of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Thomas, “one of the Twelve,” (24) was not present when Jesus came and “showed them his hands and side” (20). Thomas wanted to have the same experience as the other disciples; that would help him develop his faith in Christ. Jesus did not reprimand Thomas for asking; rather, he made the statement that it is possible to believe without facts. Today, as children of empirical knowledge, we probably would have also requested facts before believing.
How long can a person go on with a doubt? Some people will never be satisfied. In honesty, we should say that most of us never eliminate our doubts; we learn to live with them. Tim Keller makes the case that the presence of doubt indicates the presence of other beliefs. He says that we need to allow our doubts to complete their pursuit for the truth and “in fairness you must doubt your doubts.”
Thomas needed to change his present belief, and this can be a painful process. It is not pleasant to struggle with a doubt for a week (26). The fact is that Thomas witnessed Jesus performing many miracles; he had enough proof of Jesus’ power and authority. The purpose of witness is to lead the person to Jesus. John says that he wrote his Gospel “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah” (30). Thomas had to experience the risen Jesus before he could lead others to faith. Most of us need the same; we need to witness the supernatural before we can witness to others. Thomas’ doubt became the passion that, according to tradition, took him to South India to establish the church there.
How do you process your doubts? Let your doubts lead you to further study, research and prayer.
Heavenly Father, I ask that my questions will lead to understanding, my uncertainties will lead to trust, my honest faith will lead to hope.