Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Thomas the Doubter; But aren't we all doubters?

"I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"-Mark 8:24

"Unless I (Thomas) 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 it.".-John 20:25. 
"Then he (Jesus) said to Thomas "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."-John 20:27. 

Freedom - A wild serenity
I relate to Thomas and the Papa of the boy in Mark. We all are doubters. Their responses--realistic. Jesus loves those who are realistic and truthful, willing to admit they struggle with doubt. And you know what else? Jesus is abundant in patience. Thomas flat out admitted he wasn't going to believe Jesus had risen until he saw Him with his own eyes and even touched Him. And what did Jesus do? Jesus worked with him. He took Thomas's doubt and worked with it! He told him to touch him, just as Thomas told the other disciples, and immediately Thomas realized it truly was the Messiah.

And the Papa of the demon possessed boy? He too flat out admitted that he had doubts that Jesus could heal his boy because his boy had been possessed since infancy. That Papa probably tried everything to help his boy and pry felt absolutely hopeless when he approached Jesus. But at least he was willing to admit it. And he cried out to Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief!

I was talking with Ben the other day after church about how I've always felt bad for Thomas being given the reputation of 'the doubter'. I mean really? His response was totally realistic. And I put myself in his shoes and I would have said the same thing probably. Thomas was there when Jesus died and saw it happen and I think his response was totally truthful and real. And you know what I think? I think that Jesus would so much rather have us be running around like Thomas, admitting that we are having a hard time not being cynical about something He (Jesus) is doing, than be a bunch of 'religious stoics" acting like we have it all together when we really seriously don't

So often times I do this. I act like the stoics and pretend I have it all together when on the inside, I'm doubting Jesus and His plans. I go out of my own way even at times and make my own plans, "just in case He doesn't follow through". Whenever something unexpected pops up, I tend to roll towards doing this. Acting like it's 'all good' and making my own plans 'just in case'. It's been my default for as long as I can remember...and I have a feeling I'm most definitely not alone in saying that...

I am sharing all this because I've recently been spending a lot of time reading bits of the gospels lately and I feel I've been awakened to the idea of 'realness' because of how Jesus is. I've realized that Jesus is a Lord all about 'people being real with Him'. Who's He always annoyed at? The people who aren't being real with Him. Most of the time the Pharisees. And I've realized that most of the time, I haven't been real with Him who can see right through me! I realized that God would so much rather me be like Thomas or that Papa and say "God, I am having a hard time believing that" or "God, I'm seriously struggling right now with your plan and I don't know about this...". I think He delights in us being real with Him like Thomas and that Papa because He can work with doubt. Because God is GREATER than even our biggest doubts. He did it with the disciples, Esther when she went to confront the King, Moses when he confronted Pharoh, Sarah when she was barren, Noah when he built the Ark and He can most certainly do it with you and me. He can take our biggest doubts and work with us. And in the end, we come out a lot stronger, just like His disciples and just like the people of the Old Testament I mentioned above.

As I spent my quiet time today with the Lord, I prayed and was real with God about some things and I felt so much closer to Him than when I've put on a 'face'. I encourage you to look at the doubts you have and just lay them out before Him. I promise you He will work with you and give you peace.

With much love,


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