I doubt… A LOT. I think it’s completely normal to doubt. But what if God just simply wants us to believe that He is capable of more than we can imagine? It’s more than we can imagine because we put our lives and our God in a box 90% of the time. I have a friend who doesn’t like personality tests because she says it puts her in a box she says she cannot be defined by a type of personality because she has many parts to her. I think so often we try to categorize God into a “personality type” we think he should be one way, but God is like my friend, he cannot simply be defined by one trait or one characteristic because he has so many parts to him. To quote Shrek:
Shrek: Ogres are like onions.
Donkey: They stink?
Shrek: Yes. No.
Donkey: Oh, they make you cry.
Donkey: Oh, you leave em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin’ little white hairs.
Shrek: No. Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers.
God has a lot of layers to him and I don’t think we are going to see every layer of God even if we live to be 100 and that’s just because he is God and he is unexplainable.
Jesus Appears to Thomas – John 20:24-29
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I 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.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Thomas was like all of us, he had his doubts. What’s shocking to me in this story is that Thomas walked with Jesus, literally. He saw people being healed, he saw the blind gain sight and he saw the dead raised to life. Thomas saw it all and yet when the people he spent the last few years with told him that Jesus rose from the dead, he doubted. How could he doubt when he literally watched the unexplainable happen time and time again?! And how could he doubt the people he spent so much time with, even if it seemed crazy, shouldn’t he have trusted the word of his friends? Why was it so unbelievable that Jesus could’ve risen from the dead when he watched Lazarus rise from the dead? If Thomas struggled with unbelief even when he walked with Jesus, maybe it’s not completely out of the ordinary that I too struggle with doubt.
Doubt so often holds me back from experiencing all that God has for me. I doubt that God is going to come through financially. I doubt that God wants to use me and I doubt that God could still perform miracles. I’m a doubter. But Jesus challenges Thomas to believe without seeing. See Thomas believed in the miracles because he saw them first hand, he was there for them. But when Jesus rose from the dead, he didn’t see him and because he didn’t see him, he didn’t believe. It’s not that he didn’t think Jesus was capable of rising from the dead he just needed to see it to believe it. And yet, Jesus says “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
And yet, Jesus says “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
There is something powerful about having faith. Faith, as defined by Webster, is a strong belief or trust in someone or something. It’s trust. Thomas wanted to see Jesus, he wanted to touch him and see the nail marks in Jesus’ hands. He struggled with unbelief which boiled down to the fact that he struggled with trust. He didn’t trust the word of the disciples. He allowed his doubt to interfere with believing that Jesus was who he said he was. But Jesus had grace for Thomas. And Thomas cried out “My God!” it turned out okay but how cool would it have been if Thomas could’ve just received what the disciples were saying? I wonder how that would’ve looked if Thomas had such a confidence in who Jesus is that when the disciples told him Jesus is alive that he said “YES! I knew what he said was true!” I know that either way Jesus loves Thomas the way he is. But I think we can experience so much more of who God is if we can just believe him even when we can’t see.
God has many layers and I want to experience the side of God that requires me to have a confidence and belief in the unseen. I don’t want my doubt to hold me back from experiencing all that God has for me. Oh and did you notice this detail? “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” The doors were locked…