Wrestling With Doubt

Life Notes—April 28, 2011

“(But Thomas) said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”  John 20:25b 

My daughter, Grace, was suspicious of Santa Claus almost from the beginning.  The whole “old fat man coming down the chimney” routine was a stretch for her to unconditionally believe.  Reflecting back, it is a little creepy, plus we didn’t even have a chimney.  She would try to stay awake on Christmas Eve to settle the mystery, but her little body always gave in to sleep before the presents arrived.  My son, Reid, was more utilitarian.  Whether Santa was real or not wasn’t the point.  The point was to play along with the myth and get lots of presents.  Why sweat the “small” stuff? 

In the days following his resurrection, Jesus appeared to many of his disciples: conversed with them, ate with them, helped them understand what was happening.  They had proof positive he had risen from the grave and was their promised Messiah.  But “Doubting” Thomas had not been present for these appearances and he refused to believe until he could actually feel the holes in Jesus’ hands. 

And this is the crux of our faith dilemma still today.  Because Jesus’ kingdom is not of the earth, because he is not physically present, and because we are quick to accept ‘logical’ explanations for most miracles, it can be saner not to believe.  Science teaches us to seek proof before believing.  But science is of the world we see and hear and touch, and there is another world beyond our senses.  Both worlds co-exist within us.  To further complicate matters, the rules are different in the two worlds.  In one we are told to live today as if there’s no tomorrow; in the other we are told our tomorrow is shaped by our choices today.  One world seemingly ends at death, when awareness of the other begins. 

Some people believe with ease.  For others, belief is an on-going struggle.  I fall in with the latter.  I had little to do with Christianity as a young adult.  My search for Truth led me to abandon what I was taught in Sunday school as too much to accept at face value.  But it was that same search that eventually led me to see my everyday life in ways that were unexplainable, except by the very lessons taught in Sunday school.  I am still a skeptical, doubtful person. But persisting in the search for Truth, wrestling over issues of faith, can lead us to the same place as those with unwavering faith—just as if we, like Thomas, were allowed to put our fingers in the holes in Jesus’ hands… 

This Sunday Tom is downtown and Mitch will be at the west campus.  Their sermon title is “Growing in Faith Together,” based on the scripture Mark 4:1-9.  Life worship is at 9:40 in Brady Hall, and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:00 and 11:00. 

Come home to church this Sunday.  Doubting wrestlers are welcome!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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