Faith and Doubt

Faith allows the possibility of doubt. Unlike a science experiment or a geometry problem, the truth of faith cannot be proved. Whatever is proven beyond question is no longer a matter of faith. By faith, we may encounter God’s presence in our lives, but in ways that will always be open to interpretation and better understanding.

Faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Faith is beyond proof, off the scale of proof, and not subject to proof. Like love, faith can be known and felt, but never proved beyond doubt. Jesus himself rejects the devil’s temptation to put God to the test (Luke 4:13). There can be no “test” of God’s love, and there can be no proof of it.

Thomas can speak for us all when he admits his doubts. In this regard, we can admire Thomas’ honesty and willingness to speak his truth. He knew Jesus died on the cross, and he would need more than a few enthusiastic reports to believe otherwise. That was his experience, and the basis of his perspective at the time. Fortunately for Thomas, he could be called to faith, and Jesus was glad to provide what Thomas needed to believe. He was “teachable.”

Like Thomas, the first step for us must be to admit and claim where we are in life — not where others think we should be, or where we would like to be in terms of an ideal. We have to start where we are. Doubts and all. When we face the limitations of our belief, we can begin to be transformed and grow

beyond those limitations. It’s unlikely that we’ll be confronted by Jesus’ own person in human form, offering us his pierced hands and side for demonstration. But we can echo the cry of the man who said to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).

Jesus came to Thomas in the midst of his doubts, and gave him what he needed for faith. Thomas’ honesty with himself and the other disciples made this possible. Following that example we can be honest with ourselves and the people around us. There is no need to deny or avoid our doubts. We can face who we are and admit what we need. That’s the starting point. That’s when our real life of faith opens to

Jesus, who is always present, even when we doubt.

Look it Up

See Hymn 203, “Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! O sons and daughters.”

Think About It

How have you been called to faith in times of doubt? How have you experienced God’s presence in times of great need? How have you been able to share your faith with others when they were struggling?

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