faith and doubt

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I hear and read, time and again, that the lack of faith many people have in God stems from the deficiency of proof of His existence and Jesus' own claims of deity. As I have thought about this, I am reminded that the Bible tells that many persons in the multitude shouting for Jesus' crucifixion were earlier the same ones who had witnessed first hand His teachings and miracles. In the Old Testament, Gideon doubted that God could really use him to lead Israel to victory. Abraham and Sarah, because of their advanced age, laughed at God's promise for a son. In the New Testament, even Thomas the disciple doubted the resurrection until he could physically touch the scars on Jesus' body. The Bible even records that the eleven remaining disciples saw the risen Christ face to face, yet still doubted (Matthew 28:17). The beauty of these Biblical stories of the aforementioned "doubters" and many others like them is that in spite of their doubts, hesitations, uncertainty and blatant unbelief, God still used them, and in great ways.

Now I am not saying doubt is good. In fact, the Bible is very clear that for the Christian, doubt is something to be overcome, or it will overcome you (James 1:6-8). As the Christian works out his/her salvation with awe and reverence (Philippians 2:12) they can remember that Thomas, Gideon, Abraham, Sarah, Peter, Paul, Zechariah, Martha and even many of Jesus' own disciples doubted at times. In fact, have you considered Job? He was stripped of everything he held dear. Doubts rose, but he was not overcome. In fact, even in the midst of his "toils and snares," Job proclaims a great statement of faith; "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth" (Job 19:25).

As I read the Bible, it is encouraging to know that even on the days when my faith is not where it needs to be, I'm in good company. My prayer is the same as the doubting father who asked Jesus to heal his afflicted son; "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24).