Dealing with Doubts (ii)

18 06 2010

Over the next few posts, I plan to offer 10 thoughts on dealing with doubts; 4 temptations and 6 encouragements, loosely based on Jesus’ interaction with Thomas in John 20:

‘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; nd 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)

1) When we doubt, it can be tempting to feel isolated

Imagine the scene, Thomas is standing in a room with ten other guys, all of whom have seen the risen Jesus a few days before. They’re convinced, they’ve had their evidence and many of their questions answered. Imagine what’s going through Thomas’ mind:

‘I’m the only one! These guys have seen and believed. It’s easy for them. Here I am, with a bunch of people who are all certain and I feel like the odd one out.’

When you are doubting, it is so easy to feel isolated; like the only one in the crowd that has any questions about your faith. Like everyone else is sorted and you feel miserable.

This can tend to provoke two responses in us:

a) We can end up looking inward and asking ‘what’s wrong with me? Why is it that I am the only one that can’t believe?’


b) We look outward to God and say How come you make it easy for everyone else to believe? Why do you make it so hard for me?’

Option a) leads to self-pity. Option b) to bitterness. Neither will alleviate your doubting, but rather drill you deeper down into it.

The fact is, Thomas wasn’t the only doubter in the group. Matthew 28:16-17 tells us that:

‘The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.’

Not ‘one of them doubted’ or ‘stubborn Thomas doubted’, but some. More than one. Of the eleven!

If you feel isolated, like you’re the only one that has ever questioned their faith, then you need to know that you are not alone. You are not the only Christian to have wavered in your confidence. You’re not the only cell group leader to have had questions. In a sea of 200 people at church you will most certainly not be the only one feeling like this.

So first of all, we have to resist the urge to let our feelings get the better of us, such that we look inside and think ‘what is wrong with me?’ (self pity) or upward and blame God (bitterness).




One response

20 06 2010

great blog

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