Doubt is a common response to life as we see it. Doubt can be a good thing, it often prevents us from rushing into something without due caution. It is not a sign of weakness nor is it a lack of faith. Doubt only becomes a problem if we persist in an attitude which refuses to accept the revealed truth and person of Jesus Christ.
Do you ever look at other Christians and wonder: ‘Do they REALLY believe this stuff? That Jesus really was the Son of God who rose again, and is alive today?’
Doubt is an honest place to be, and is not the opposite of Christian faith. To believe is to be in one mind. To disbelieve is to be in one mind also. To doubt is to waver between the two minds. To doubt is to be willing to believe it – IF you can find evidence to back up the story.
If you are in this state of ‘two-minds’ over the Easter story, you may find the story of the disciple Thomas (John 20:24-29) to be helpful. Unlike the other disciples, he was not present on that first Easter night when Jesus appeared to the other disciples. Instead, Thomas was told some-one whom he’d seen crucified and dead was alive again three days later, in perfect health.
Thomas had been devoted to Jesus, but the fact that dead people don’t rise again was just too much for him. So despite the joy of the other disciples, he could get only as far as: ‘unless I see the nail marks... I will not believe it.’
It was a week later that Jesus appeared again to his disciples and confronted Thomas. He said simply: ‘Put your finger here; see my hands . . . stop doubting and believe.’
Jesus then looked forward to all the millions of people in the future who would never meet him in person, and so would have understandable grounds to doubt. ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’
Thomas needed physical recognition before he could say ‘My Lord and My God.’
Today, if you want to believe, but honestly struggle with doubt, talk to someone about it and try using this simple prayer:
‘Lord Jesus, I have never seen you in person. So I sometimes doubt that you exist. The Bible tells us that it’s only the Holy Spirit who can open our ‘spiritual eyes’, and so I ask you to do that for me. Please give me not physical recognition, but faith recognition. I will do my bit, and read about you each day in the Bible. Through your Word, please open my spiritual eyes so that I can see you clearly as Jesus, the risen Son of God.”