Join the joyful doubters

Thoughts on Luke 24:35-48

It’s the evening of first day of the week, the disciples are still together, wondering about the reports of an empty tomb and sightings of you, when suddenly you appear in their midst. Startled and frightened is an understatement. At first they thought you were a ghost, like they were experiencing a Folie à deux. You gave them more credit than they deserved. You seemed surprised that they were troubled and doubting. All along you had been telling them the truth about what would unfold to accomplish your mission: suffering, dying, rising on the third day; you had given them enough information so that they might have expected your resurrection. Their doubts proved their disbelief. Patiently, you give them hands on evidence proving that all you had told them about yourself and your plans for humankind were true.

The scripture says “they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered.” Joy and doubt were vying for prominence in their hearts. You, alive, talking to them, showing them your wounds – this was too good to be true. Yet here you were, asking for something to eat.

And now you give them a new identity, a new purpose, “You are witnesses of these things.” A witness, one who reports what they have seen or experienced.

Lord, I count myself one of these joyful doubters. Like them, I’ve heard you tell me the truth about who you are and who I am, what power is yours and how you share it with me, what purpose is yours and how you need me to help bring it about. This is reality and your intention for me. You patiently allow the truth to sink into my thick head, giving me proof after proof of your power and your love. Like them, joy and doubt compete for my heart. Help me to align myself with joy and belief. Thank you and amen.

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When your faith wavers (a lesson from John the Baptist

Have you ever had this experience? The faith you confidently held and expressed throughout your life suddenly seems thin and wobbly. What you previously believed without a doubt you now find yourself questioning. If so, you are in good company.

So John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come or are we to wait for another? Luke 7:18,19

John, the one who while still in his mother’s womb recognized Jesus as the Messiah; the one who didn’t want to baptize Jesus because he felt unworthy to even untie his sandals; the one who pointed to Jesus and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world;” this John, the one who was convinced Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, now has doubts. John, in prison and anticipating death because of his faith, now needs reassurance that Jesus is indeed the Christ.

What did John do when he was experiencing a crises of faith? 

He asked his friends to go to Jesus on his behalf. He had a trusted community with whom he could share his doubts, ones who would approach Jesus when he could not. Do you have such relationships? Your doubts might cause you to withdraw or isolate yourself. Do the opposite. Confide in your friends, admit your doubts, ask them to pray, borrow their faith until yours returns.

. .demons love darkness and hiddenness. Inner fears and struggles which remain isolated develop great power over us. But when we talk about them in a spirit of trust, they they can be looked at and dealt with. Once brought into the light of mutual love, demons lose their power and quickly leave us.  – Henri Nouwen The Road to Daybreak

How did Jesus respond to John’s dilemma?

He says, “look at the fruit of my ministry.” It’s so like Jesus to not answer a direct question with a direct answer. He’s committed to building our faith, not coddling our doubts. His answers cause us to examine our lives, pointing us to the ways we are no longer blind, lame, sick, deaf, dead or poor. His answers to our questions drive us to trust his character. Our faith, even as we doubt, is solid and true. Doubts will pass, our faith abides; and remember, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6

MM 2/16/15 don’t doubt yourself

Ask in faith without doubt. In this instance doubt means “to be at variance with one’s self, to hesitate.” So we are to ask for wisdom, and not argue with our self about God’s generosity in giving it, or our ability to act on it. The Holy Spirit makes it possible. Trust.

MM 2/16/15 Don't doubt yourself from Debby Bellingham on Vimeo.

when your faith waivers ( a lesson from John the Baptist)

Have you ever had this experience? The faith you confidently held and expressed throughout your life suddenly seems thin and wobbly. What you previously believed without a doubt you now find yourself questioning. If so, you are in good company.

So John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come or are we to wait for another? Luke 7:18,19

John, the one who while still in his mother’s womb recognized Jesus as the Messiah; the one who didn’t want to baptize Jesus because he felt unworthy to even untie his sandals; the one who pointed to Jesus and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world;” this John, the one who was convinced Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, now has doubts. John, in prison and anticipating death because of his faith, now needs reassurance that Jesus is indeed the Christ.

What did John do when he was experiencing a crises of faith?

He asked his friends to go to Jesus on his behalf. He had a trusted community with whom he could share his doubts, ones who would approach Jesus when he could not. Do you have such relationships? Your doubts might cause you to withdraw or isolate yourself. Do the opposite. Confide in your friends, admit your doubts, ask them to pray, borrow their faith until yours returns.

. .demons love darkness and hiddenness. Inner fears and struggles which remain isolated develop great power over us. But when we talk about them in a spirit of trust, they they can be looked at and dealt with. Once brought into the light of mutual love, demons lose their power and quickly leave us.  – Henri Nouwen The Road to Daybreak

How did Jesus respond to John’s dilemma?

He says, “look at the fruit of my ministry.” It’s so like Jesus to not answer a direct question with a direct answer. He’s committed to building our faith, not coddling our doubts. His answers cause us to examine our lives, pointing us to the ways we are no longer blind, lame, sick, deaf, dead or poor. His answers to our questions drive us to trust his character. Our faith, even as we doubt, is solid and true. Doubts will pass, our faith abides; and remember, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6