Doubting (Part 4)
I began this study with the premise that each of us experiences doubt in our Christian walk. You may have felt that God was absent from your life during a difficult circumstance or situation. Perhaps you're in despair over the way things are currently going in your life. Whatever it is, whatever is causing you pain, whatever is causing you sadness, whatever it is that is causing you despair; all of these feelings can lead to doubt. Now doubt is not necessarily a bad thing and can serve as a means for you to seek God more deeply and increase your faith in Jesus. As we close out this study, I want to put doubt into perspective by looking at one biblical narrative. By doing this, my hope is that it will help each of us better understand the nature of doubt and enable us to handle it more effectively in our lives.
Think about the first Good Friday. Think of it as it was for the first disciples of Jesus; not for us on this side of Easter. Imagine how these first followers of Jesus must have felt. They had given up everything to follow Him. Their lives were centered around Him. He had all the answers to their questions. Then, in front of their eyes, He was crucified and died a criminal‘s death. What do you think was going through their minds? What do you think Saturday was like for them? I wonder if they were thinking Jesus failed, He didn't get enough followers. He wasn't the man He said He was. Where was God? Why was He silent? None of them probably want to admit this, but they must have been filled with doubt.
The death of Jesus shows us how unreliable experience and feelings can be regarding the presence of God in our lives. The first disciples didn't feel the presence God, so they concluded that He was absent from the scene. This turned to doubt. But, the resurrection of Jesus would overturn that doubt. In fact, Jesus promised earlier that He would be raised to life on the third day after his crucifixion (Matthew 20:17-19). Yet, in the confusion, in the despair, in the hurt, in the sorrow, in the desperation of the moment of Jesus' death, that promise was forgotten and maybe even doubted. Experiences, feelings, emotions, and lack of understanding seemed to have caused the disciples to forget the promise spoken to them by Jesus, a promise that would have erased the Saturday doubt they experienced.
You see, the first Good Friday reminds us of the need to trust and find rest in the divine promises made to us. Promises like, our sins are forgiven (Matthew 9:2). Promises like, He will give you rest for your soul and His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:29-30). Promises like all things are possible with God (Mark 10:27). Promises like, "I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20). Or for me, the promise to "be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9). What about you? In what promises from God do you find rest, comfort and peace? What promise do you look to when doubt begins to permeate your thoughts and you have a perceived absence of God?