Doubt and West Ridge
“I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief (Mark 9:24).”
Why West Ridge? I knew when asked this question I could sum up my answer in one word, doubt. Jesus, after being crucified and buried rose from the dead. The day we call Easter completes the story of God’s promise to send a savior to the world so sin would no longer separate us from God. Easter is God’s big day, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead; this very event finishes the Christmas story. “ She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).” Therefore, a message focused on doubt, no less on Easter, seemed out of place, but it was exactly what my ears needed to hear and what my mind would need to remember.
It was not the first time I had heard the story of doubting Thomas. The Bible is full of doubters, but Thomas takes the cake; probably because he was from Jesus’ inner circle. The story unfolds in the book of John chapter 20. Jesus appears to ten of his disciples and tells them “Peace be with you.” Then showing them his hands and sides, the disciples rejoiced for they knew Jesus had conquered death. Thomas, one of the disciples, was not present when Jesus returned to them and could not believe his closest friends had seen the Lord. He adamantly says, “If I do not see I will not believe.” A week later, Thomas was with the disciples and Jesus appears again. This time being able to feel and see the wounds of the crucifixion, Thomas now believes, but Jesus responds to his excitement with saying, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed (John 20:29).”
Maybe doubt is something you have never been conflicted with; you have had a steadfast faith for as long as you can remember never questioning the existence of God. However, for myself, doubt comes unexpectedly; it may only last a moment of me wondering, “Am I being duped;” other times it has got comfortable and settled in as a debilitating uncertainty. I have felt deep pain, cried tirelessly, and screamed silently wanting God to be tangible, his presence to be palpable. If Thomas, a close follower of Jesus, struggled, surely God knows how it rattles my anxious mind. It is a slippery slope being a doubting Thomas. It is not only faith fatiguing, but minimizes God’s love and capacity. I think most of us are hardwired for logic, but faith defies logic. Faith requires obedience. “Faith is the centerpiece of a connected life. It allows us to live by the grace of invisible strands. It is a belief in a wisdom superior to our own. Faith becomes the teacher in the absence of fact” – Terry Tempest Williams.
Thank you W.R. for letting me be authentic; reminding me when faced with doubt I need to surrender my weakness; trust in God and not on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) because I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13) since Jesus is the “source and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
Blessings – Beth L. Helm