How to deal with your doubt.
My sisters and I go on holiday together often and inevitably at some point during the holiday, one of us becomes over the whole thing. One of us is tired of the beautiful scenery, don’t want to take anymore pictures, don’t want to see anymore museums…you get the picture. We are in this amazing place, so many brilliant things to do and see but you are just over it. In fact the happier the others are the more annoying and more the feeling grows. We have named this phenomenon – Miserable Mary. (Disclaimer: this is a fictional character, not related to any Marys you may know)
The story of Thomas in John 20:24-29 has some lessons we can learn about how we can deal with doubt and how that is related to Miserable Mary.
Because I imagine Thomas to have been on Miserable Mary mode after receiving the news that Jesus had risen. Thomas doubted but so did the other disciples and it wasn’t until they saw Jesus and He showed them His hands and His side that they believed too. Thomas, unlike the disciples was on another level, he was on full on Miserable Mary mode.
When you think about it there was no reason for the disciples to lie about seeing Jesus and with all these eyewitnesses and no body, the evidence was conclusive. Jesus had risen!
The thing about God is that He never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith. – Steps to Christ
In Thomas’ case there was Jesus’ promise that He would rise on the third day, even the Pharisees remembered this because they asked Pilate to guard the tomb. There were also eyewitness accounts but still Thomas chose to doubt.
The experiences of the of the disciples were abundant proof that the Jesus has risen but hearing the disciples talk about it only filled Thomas with gloom and unbelief. You can imagine how the disciples just wouldn’t be able to stop talking about it. You know when someone is excited about something but you can’t share in that excitement? They had seen Jesus suffering on the cross, the saw Him die, they even buried him. They thought it was all over. One minute they were sitting in a locked room still in mourning, anxious and in fear about what was going to happen next. Then Jesus appeared in the flesh. He showed them the scars where they nailed Him and pierced His side. “O man, Thomas you should have seen Him!”
And the more Thomas heard the recount of what happened the more he plugged into deeper despair. Can you imagine this went on for a week?
There are some lessons to be learnt from Thomas’s experience if you are struggling with doubt:
- Review the evidence – God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence to base our faith. Our faith must be based on evidence but not demonstration, otherwise it’s no longer faith.
- Confess your sin, or ask God to search your heart. Often times the cause of our doubt is because we are holding onto something that we need to let go of. If you are not sure what it is follow David’s example and say, “search me O God and know my heart, try me and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23, 24)
- Have a sincere desire to know God’s will – In one of my favourite books Steps to Christ, the writer says, God has never removed the possibility of doubt. However those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith.
- Then Obey – Do everything that has been made plain to your understanding, and you will be enabled to understand what you doubt.
- Ask – Earnestly and sincerely ask Jesus. Despite the fact that Thomas had been unreasonable in dictating the conditions of his faith, Jesus didn’t give him a hard time about it. Jesus didn’t tell him he should know better or make him feel bad for his doubt, but He revealed Himself to Thomas and even met the unreasonable condition.
When I think of the times I was on holiday with my sisters and I was on Miserable Mary mode I think about how much I missed out on enjoying the moment. For a week Thomas was on Miserable Mary mode he missed out on the joy of the good news that Jesus was alive. Jesus said blessed are those who didn’t see but still believed. Don’t miss out on your blessing by allowing doubt to get in the way.
Want more on dealing with doubt and coming to Jesus? Check out the book Steps to Christ by Ellen White