FROM DOUBT TO BELIEF
I don’t know why, but I feel the need to share my backstories with you when I write an essay. I tend to tell what is on my mind as my mind comes up with these messages. Although I feel certain that these thoughts come from the Lord God, I have no way of convincing disbelievers of my truth. I usually do not write my messages during the heart of the day, but it was right about noon and I asked the Lord if I could be of service since I was a bit bored after a morning rain unable to do many of the things that I would otherwise be doing to keep myself busy, especially during this time just before spring and the planting season. The usual phrase I petition to the Lord is: “Use me, dear Lord, if there is anything that I can do to serve.” After such a prayer I go about my way and allow the Spirit to use me or not. That is when this thought came to me.
As a retired senior I have plenty of time on my hand. I love spending much of it with the Lord in silent prayers, meditation, or conversations with the Spirit. At times I speak out loud to my heavenly Father because I know that He is always listening, even if He doesn’t always speak back through normal methods. When you are always asking for things your heart comes from a different place than it does when you are simply asking to serve the Lord, or when you are worshipping and giving God praise.
God loves to hear all of the ways we attempt to draw near to Him. It is us that changes. When you are hungry and thirsty for things the heart seeks to be filled with something from outward. When you are in praise and worship the heart pours out things from within. When you are available to be used for service it is yet another mood almost like being a receiver. All these moods mean something different to us because we are usually on the receiving end of what God offers. However, when we are on the giving side of the equation… God smiles at us. It is during such times God has His way with us.
As I was thinking about this topic, from doubt to belief, the first thing that I thought about was the disciple they call doubting Thomas. It was after the crucifixion of Jesus when He appeared before His disciples. You can only imagine what these mortal men might have been thinking after witnessing His horrible death. When people die, they do not come back alive. When they saw Christ risen from the dead and standing in front of them, doubt would probably have been the most prevalent reaction. Shock might have been an equally, prevalent, normal reaction as well.
From the scriptures, it appears that Thomas, one of the Twelve had the most problem accepting the fact that Christ had risen from the dead, as Christ told them He would. This is the point when I would need to go to my bible and actually read that particular sequence because it is important to the rest of us as to how people can go from severe doubt to enthusiastic belief. I’m sure there are many who would like to believe but they wrestle with their unbelief. Our unbelief is not unusual as noted in the story of the resurrection written in the four gospels.
As I read all four accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, all of them were very similar. After the crucifixion, on the first day of the week, Mary the mother of Jesus, and the other Mary, along with other women went to the tomb to prepare the body of Christ with herbs and spices as customary for the Jews. When they got there the stone had been removed and the body of Christ was not there. It was either one or two angels inside the tomb telling Mary Magdalene that Christ had risen as He said He would, so go and tell the disciples to meet Him in their meeting place. They ran back to tell the eleven disciples. Peter did not believe it, so he ran to the tomb and discovered that the body of the Lord was gone. In all four accounts of the events, all the disciplines doubted this could be true. The risen Christ appeared to several of them unbeknownst to them at the time. They did not recognize that it was the risen Lord right amongst them.
In the gospel of John, chapter 20 was written the story about Thomas, one of the Twelve. He refused to believe that Christ had risen unless he was able to see and touch the wounds of Christ with his own hands. Christ appeared before the 11 and Thomas were able to see and believe because it was with his own eyes and his touching the risen body of our Lord. Christ said to Thomas, “Do not disbelieve, but believe.” “Have you believed because you have seen me? Bless are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Matthew 20:27–28. There is much more written about the story but the point of doubt to belief is what I wish to cover.
What I see is the chasm between the natural and the supernatural. There is a veil that blocks the two realms. Most of us are not allowed to peek behind the veil because of our disbelief and faith. Our faith, as weak as it might be is the only way we can get there. Christ pointed this out to Thomas. He believed because he was able to see and touch the Lord’s risen body, but others must believe without such proof. Something has to take us out of the natural and bring us into the supernatural or we will not believe without seeing or touching. That something is faith, and it does not come easily. If the disciples who walked with Christ for nearly three years had a problem believing, that should tell us that belief is in the realm of the supernatural, but our mortal minds have a hard time trying to get there. In fact, we alone cannot cross over into that barrier unless the Spirit draws us near and give us a peek. And here is the catch as well, we will not be drawn near until our hearts are in the right place in order to receive the Spirit, as was Thomas, eventually.
As I wrestle with disbelief, I relate with what the disciples did when they saw the Risen Lord. If it was hard for them to believe as Christ was standing right before them, then God help the rest of us. I believe but I need help with this disbelief that constantly plagues the mind that has the hardest time trying to extend beyond logic and reasoning. It has to go places that are not possible, yet God is already in that place, the supernatural. The only way we can cross over to that place is by the Spirit of God Who literally has to cross us over there. We want it to happen so badly that we tend to push forward not waiting on God. To be worthy of such is not possible with us but all things are possible with God.
I am convinced that our Lord will reveal Himself to the hearts and minds that are ready, but none are worthy. We must be willing to sit in the passenger seat and allow the Lord to do the driving. When He knows we are ready then the scales will be lifted allowing our hearts and minds to see. Even the disciples went through that while in His presence. Paul went through a similar thing when on the road to Damascus. If these men and women who were so close to the Lord went through such things, then who are we to complain? Crossing over from doubt to belief can only be accomplished by the Lord’s help. We do not have the power or permission to come into the presence of the Lord without Him. Christ told us this when He was present with us: John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
As difficult as it might be to cross over from doubt to belief it is made so much easier when you take the yoke that Christ mentioned in the book of Matthew: 11:28–30. He said:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.: NIV
Again, when I think of all this, I am reminded of just how blind I was during my younger days. I could not see any of this nor did I truly believe it because my eyes had not been opened. I had belief, but I also had just as much unbelief so the two defeated each other. It was only when the Spirit knew that I was in the receiving mode that the blinders were taken off. When you think of the young today, they are just like most of us were when we were young. If God can do for us He can also do for them. Do you remember that old Spiritual song, “There is no secret, what God can do, What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you, with eyes wide open, He’ll pardon you, there is no secret, what God can do?” That was written by Jim Reeves. I remember the version sung by Elvis Presley back in my younger days but sung by my elders also. Now I understand what that song was saying. Selah!