Daring to Doubt: Learning from 'Doubting Thomas'
- Wednesday, December 19, 2001
Thomas was willing to risk. Thomas was not a mere dabbler in religion. He was a follower--and a follower unto death. Thomas was willing to risk in order to discover. If you arent willing to risk, forget it. If you dont believe and it doesnt bother you, then forget the resolution of your doubts. You will always have them.
Thomas refused to run on someone elses gasoline. You cannot vicariously share anyone elses belief. That kind of belief--believing because your parent, grandparent or friend believes--is okay for a transition period, but you cant go on that forever. In order to resolve doubt, you need to decide that you will have the experience of God yourself.
Thomas asked questions. God would agree with the statement: The only dumb questions are the ones that arent asked. Questions that concern your doubts do have answers. But when they arent asked, you wont find those answers.
Thomas verbalized his doubts. One of the problems with the Church is that when we are hurting--and doubt is one of the greatest hurts--many of us play pretend. We keep quiet about our hurt, never getting our needs met. If you have doubts, dont go off in a corner and lick your wounds. That is what the Church is for.
Thomas, when he found answers, was willing to accept those answers and to act on them. The reason for verbalizing doubts is not to get sympathy--It is to resolve those doubts. The reason for asking questions is not to show your deep philosophical nature--It is to get answers. The reason for risking is not to show your courage--It is to find the reality of the God of the universe.
Jesus answered Thomas doubts. He will answer yours as well. In fact, Jesus answered exactly, precisely and totally the question of Thomas...and Thomas didnt even know that Jesus had heard the question.
Jesus met the searching doubts of Thomas in two ways.
Jesus gave an evidential answer. There is evidence for the Truth, for the veracity of the Christian faith. It is credible, it hangs together and it is open to questioning. God isnt dead. He still speaks in the evidence He has so graciously condescended to give us. When you waver, it is often because you doubt. If you doubt, it may be because you simply havent looked down into the well of Truth.
Jesus also gave an existential answer. He didnt just give the evidence; He gave Himself. Jesus comes, the evidence is presented and then He says to both the shaking believer and the confirmed atheist: "Consider the evidence, but dont forget that I am here as well."
God doesnt play games. He is in the business of answering honest questions, meeting honest doubts and honoring genuine risk. When you go to God, expect answers to questions. If you dont want to know, dont ask.
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