Most disciples admire people of faith. I get that, and I suppose I do too. But my real heroes are people of doubt. You see, I’m not some spiritual giant, able to walk into the lion’s den and smile at them. I hope I would be faithful, but I know myself, and I know my doubts. So, when I see people of doubt being accepted by God, it reassures me. I don’t have to be that perfect, amazing person (by the way—there are no perfect people in the Bible except Jesus).
So, I admire people of doubt who are honest about that doubt with the King. That’s who I want to be.
Let me share a couple of examples. First, probably the most famous doubter of all— “Doubting Thomas” (sounds like some American politician named him!). We look up to the other Apostles, and we say we shouldn’t be like Thomas.
But why shouldn’t we? Look at the story. The others were gathered in a room where Jesus entered and showed Himself to them after the resurrection (John 20:19-. Faced with Jesus standing in front of them, talking with them, touching them, they believed! Honestly, I’d say that was easy.
But Thomas wasn’t there. So, when they told him about their experience, he struggled, and finally said, “Unless I see Him and touch his wounds (my paraphrase) I will not believe this!” (John 20:19-25). Thomas wasn’t being unfaithful or obstinate. He simply had legitimate doubts and voiced them. The interesting thing is Jesus’ response. He didn’t label Thomas as “Doubting”. He didn’t berate him or chew him out. He appeared to the whole group again a week later when Thomas was there. He went up to Thomas and said, “Ok, here I am. Here are my wounds. Put your hands in and believe.”
Thomas did, and followed Jesus faithfully from then on.
The interesting thing is what Jesus said to Thomas. He told him he was blessed to have this opportunity. But then Jesus referred to us! He said: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:20, NIV). Jesus recognized the difficulty we have believing and didn’t put us down for it. He even told Thomas, in essence, “You had it easy. You got to see me and touch me before you believed. But there will be many others who don’t get to do that but will still believe.” That’s us, if we believe!
So, we believe. But we all know that our faith falters from time to time—particularly when we need it. Faith is easy until you have to have it! That’s where our second hero comes in. We don’t know his name. We just know he was a loving father and he asked Jesus to heal his son, if it was possible. When Jesus said everything is possible if you have faith (the same word as “belief” in the Bible) the man said, “I do have faith.” Then he made an amazingly honest statement. “Help me with my lack of faith!” (Mark 9:21-24). Like us, this man knew that he had faith, but that his faith was weak. But rather than pretend this wasn’t true or try to put on a front for others—and God—he simply admitted it and asked Jesus for help! And he got it!
Why is that so hard?
Because we treat people who admit to doubt as though they have committed the unpardonable sin! When in fact, they are simply being honest about something we all wrestle with! When we stop belittling people for this honesty, maybe we’ll see more of them—and ourselves—opening up to the Lord and asking for the help we need!
By the way—according to the Biblical record—and getting that help!
Know Jesus and Be Faithful!