“It’s not what you are that is holding you back. It’s what you think you are not.” –Anonymous
On the outside, I’m a 48 year old wife, mother and Christian. I do all the normal stuff and on a good day, I’m pretty together.
On the inside, I often feel like an awkward, insecure, geeky pre-teen.
I question myself and God.
I question the decisions I make – I must be wrong – I don’t know what I’m doing. Everyone else gets it and I am struggling – trying to keep up and appear as normal as possible.
One day, my quiet time landed on the story of Jesus’ friend Lazarus who was seriously ill. I’ve read the story many times – I know it well.
God in His grace and mercy showed me something new.
Lazarus is dying – desperate travelers find Jesus and ask Him to return to Judea to save His friend – there’s no time to waste. Jesus’ inner circle is immediately concerned:
“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” John 11:8 NIV
Paraphrased with liberty – “Jesus – are you crazy? Have you forgotten the last time we were there you were almost killed? I know he’s your friend but this is a suicide mission. You’re too important, you have a duty to God – this isn’t a good idea.”
No one is on board with this plan. Jesus replies to their concerns but His followers still don’t get it – only one responds differently:
Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” John 11:16 NIV
This man known for doubt is a fierce follower ready to die for His Master.
God showed me doubt is unique to the believer.
You must first believe something in order to doubt it.
In fact, there are a number of Bible heroes who doubted God:
- Job doubted God’s goodness
- Gideon doubted God’s ability to defeat the Midianites
- Sarah and Abraham doubted God’s Promise
- Jeremiah doubted his success in God’s calling
- Thomas doubted the resurrection
What’s interesting is God considers worry a sin – not so with doubt.
In fact, scripture recounts Thomas hearing news of the risen Savior:
So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he (Thomas) said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” John 20:25 NIV
When Jesus appears, He doesn’t scold or condemn Thomas – instead He stretches out Holy hands for inspection.
I wonder if doubt is part of the pathway to faith.
The definition of doubt is: To call into question the truth of: to be uncertain.
Maybe before we can be certain, we must first be uncertain.
I wrestle and question who God is, what it all really means.
I invite God into my doubt where He faithfully shows up. When I give God my doubt and uncertainty, when I’m brave enough to question what I believe, it often leads to deeper understanding and faith rooted in the experience of God.
Job, Gideon, Sarah, Abraham, Jeremiah and Thomas – doubting God wasn’t the end of their story.
Doubt was the beginning – it served as a launching pad where God’s faithfulness fueled sacrifice, purpose and passion.
God is big enough to handle my questions – it’s another way I seek Him and His truth.
Without understanding, I place trembling hands in His, allow Him to lead me where He will.
And when I walk blindly with only a desire to see and know Him, He delights in opening Holy palms to reveal places where nail separated bone.