The Art of Doubting

Doubt.

Do you believe it. Do you believe in the doubt?

Doubt we think is something we can’t have. We think we’re not allowed to doubt. We’re not allowed to question. If we question then there’s something wrong with us. That our faith must not be strong enough. It’s as if there’s an either/or in our lives. Either you believe or you don’t. If you have doubt, you must not believe.

Then there’s St. Thomas the doubter. Thomas’ doubt is recorded at the end of the Gospel of John. Jesus appeared to Mary. He appeared to the disciples. Yet Thomas wasn’t present for any of these times. He didn’t get to see Jesus risen from the grave. He wasn’t there when Jesus appeared to the disciples who were hiding behind closed doors. He wasn’t there. And he’s asked to believe that Jesus was risen. He can’t. “Unless I see him, unless I touch his wounds, then I won’t believe,” is his mantra.

And so, Christ appears to him. Shows him the wounds. Thomas touches them and cries out ‘My Lord and my God.” Thomas had his doubts, Christ showed him the truth.

And we struggle with this. If we could do the same thing, then there would be no way that we would doubt. We would in no way question our faith, question what we struggle with, question why bad things happen to good people. We question why we struggle. We question why our faith feels so weak.

And we doubt.

And we doubt and wonder if our faith is strong enough to handle following Christ.

There is an art to doubting. And St. Thomas showed it. He gave a challenge in his doubt and his challenge was met and he was moved. With Thomas one thing we do see is that it is okay to have a strong faith and a strong doubt at the same time. In John 11, Thomas was ready to die with Christ. And he was with Jesus the whole time. He learned from him. His faith was strong enough that in his doubt, he challenged Christ.

When we doubt, we question what we believe. We question what we think. And we question God’s movement. And that’s okay. If you read through the Bible, there is always that struggle. Why, God? Why? Where are you God? Will you hide your face from me?

Even in the darkest moments of doubt, we’re able to have a faith that lets us know we’re never alone. He will never leave us nor forsake us. And in our doubt we hold on to that promise. Even when things look bleak and we wonder, we’re able to remember that blessed are those who believe and have not seen. For we don’t walk by what we see, but by the faith that we have.

And so, if there’s doubt, that’s okay. Allow that doubt to exist. Challenge that doubt. Christ may not answer right away. It might take time for him to reveal to you what he is doing. But he will answer you. And he will let you know that you’re never alone.

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