Our Christian walk is essentially an exercise in faith. For this reason, the antithesis, doubt, is our prominent antagonist. Doubt has the potential to cause tremors in the foundation of every believer, especially young saints. But we needn't cower in anxiety. Noticing Jesus' response to doubt can fill us with affirmation and confidence. The Bible teaches us that doubt is no roadblock for God's relentless love.
Father and Son
When a father brings his possessed son to Jesus to be healed, he openly expresses his doubt. He says:
"I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief." (Mark chapter 9, verse 24)
A relatable sentiment. He takes his son to Jesus because there is a possibility of restoration. But he expresses a conflicting feeling. A feeling of doubt. How many of us have had a similar feeling? We have some belief, but there is a voice of doubt echoing loud in our head.
How does Jesus respond to this? Does he say, come back to me when you have rid yourself of all doubt? No, he doesn’t. Rather, he rebukes the spirit and the boy is healed. Jesus encounters the child with love and restoration. Jesus doesn’t let a doubt riddled request interrupt his kingdom breaking forth.
A famous figure of doubt is Thomas. When news reached Thomas that Jesus had risen, he was sceptical.
"Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my fingers where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." (John chapter 20, verse 25)
Thomas is expressing his scepticism. But how does Jesus respond? A week later Jesus comes to Thomas and others. He says to Thomas:
“Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (John 20, verse 27)
Does Jesus refuse his love because of Thomas scepticism? No, he invites Thomas to touch him. He encounters Thomas. God’s love knows no barrier. Thomas’ story is the story of countless Christians all over the world. There may be initial scepticism, but because of an encounter with God, because of seeing God, the doubt turns to belief.
Doubt is nothing to be ashamed of. Every sincere believer will wrestle with doubt. There is no sincere faith without struggle. Doubt is a fiery furnace, but it proves our faith genuine. I dream of a wider church culture where people would not feel ashamed to feel doubt. That believers wouldn’t feel afraid to voice their struggles. That they would come to God and the church and say I believe, but help me to overcome my unbelief. Doubt turns to unbelief because it goes unchecked and unconfessed. But if we consider these two responses from Jesus, we can have confidence that he would never turn us away but only seek to encounter us in a powerful way.
Roden Meares enjoys playing basketball, reading comics and going to the gym. He has a passion for evangelising and helping others in their faith through writing.
Roden’s previous articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/roden-meares.html