Doubt. It can get the best of us at times. We have all been through it in one way or another. What are some things about which you have doubted? For me, I have doubted much in my life. However, I have also been reassured at every turn. In his book, The Thomas Factor, Gary Haberman shares 3 types of doubt:
- Factual – this is an honest questioning of the truthfulness of subject.
- Emotional – this is an honest feeling usually based on circumstances.
- Volitional – this is a choice one makes to doubt, or mistrust, a person or subject area.
As I look at this, I recall how I have doubted in each of these categories. Haven’t you?
- I was taught that Columbus discovered America and was a great man. However, my kids are being taught something radically different. Now I have factual doubt.
- After having interviews with different organizations that failed to produce a job, the next interview was hard for me to believe (doubt) would end any different. Based on experience, I doubted. I didn’t feel it.
- I hated President Reagan. I chose to believe nothing good was going to come from his leadership. I doubted, by choice, in his ability. Jimmy Carter was a Christian so he had to be the better president! This rose out of what my Dad being fired while on strike in 1980. I was 10. However, in review, I have matured and realized many more things. At the time I had volitional doubt.
I would encourage you to examine how you have doubted over the years. Once done, we must now move to our faith. Thomas doubted and we often rake him over the coals. If we are honest, we have done the same thing! The question is one of which type of doubt did he, and you, have? I believe he had a mixture of factual and emotional. He SAW Jesus die. He was PAINED over the death. He needed to SEE Jesus to really believe. He was not going to take someone else’s word for it.
Is that really so bad?
Jesus didn’t think so either. He showed up again and addressed Thomas’ concerns. He addresses yours too! The challenge is to believe. We might not see any way for an issue to resolve or a person to come through. However, that which is impossible to us is not impossible for God. Ask Mary!
As we investigate the facts. As we evaluate our emotions. As we examine our choices. The response we need it faith. Thomas expresses this faith and does so publicly. It is one thing for us to be convinced of something and God confirms it. We might privately confess this but it seems we are being encouraged to go public.
Throughout the Gospels we see Jesus encounter people for a variety of needs. In many cases, he calls them to a public confession/announcement of what has happened. Most famously is the woman with the issue of blood. She touched his robe privately. He asked who touched him publicly. The apostles did not know what he was doing. However, Jesus was calling for this woman to a state of courage. He knew who did it. The question was not one of ignorance but a call for confession – publicly. She wanted to believe, but a kernel of doubt remained. She touched his robe HOPING something would happen. Did she not just ask, like all the rest, because she doubted? Quite possibly she had emotional doubt. Jesus met her in her greatest need and helped her to progress in her doubt to belief.
May we be public in our belief. So all the world will know Jesus saves!