Hope for Doubters

READ: Matthew 28:16-17

When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!
Matthew 28:17 (NLT)

When the eleven disciples of Jesus met Jesus in Galilee, “they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!” What a stunning statement! For one thing, given that these very disciples became the foundational leaders of the early church, you might expect Matthew to give us a whitewashed version of their interaction with Jesus. Yet Matthew tells us the whole truth: the disciples worshiped Jesus, yet some also doubted. Some weren’t sure what to think of the resurrected Jesus. Was he real? Whas he a ghost? Could he be trusted? The blunt honesty of Matthew demonstrates the reliability of his Gospel. He’ll tell it like it was, even when he and his colleagues don’t look so good.

This passage also gives hope to those of us who struggle with doubt. We know what it’s like to worship the Lord . . . and also to doubt. We sing hymns of praise, and we mean what we sing. But every now and then a little voice interrupts our worship: “Is this really true? Did Jesus really die for me? Are my sins really forgiven?” For those who doubt, the example of the disciples offers encouragement. God does not reject us when we doubt. Like the disciples, we can live in the tension of a living faith. We can ask hard questions. We can wonder. And we can still be disciples of Jesus, those he uses to further the work of his kingdom.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you know what it’s like to worship and to doubt, even in the same moment? What do you do with your doubts? How does the example of the disciples impact you?

PRAYER: Gracious Lord, I must admit that I hate being someone prone to doubt. I know people whose faith in you is rock solid. No matter what happens, no matter what ideas challenge them, they never waver in their trust in you. But I am not one of these. You know that. For some reason I’m wired to question, to wonder, and yes, to doubt.

So, first off, I thank you for accepting me as I am, for choosing me to be your disciple in spite of my penchant for uncertainty. How glad I am that you don’t require flawless faith!

Moreover, thank you for being patient with me, for making yourself known to me again and again so that I might trust in you. Yes, there have been desert times of plaguing doubt. But in those times you have reached out to me with your mercy, giving reassurance and comfort. Thank you, Lord!

My request today is simple: Help me to trust you more! Even though I’ll never be able to figure everything out, help me to have confidence in you. When doubts arise, may I lean upon you. Help me to trust you more and more each day. Amen.

Writting by: Mark D. Roberts distributed by the Daily Reflection at TheHighCalling.org

Mark D. Roberts, as Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence for Laity Lodge, is an advisor and frequent contributor to TheHighCalling.org. A Presbyterian pastor, Mark earned his Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard University. He has written six books, including No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer (WaterBrook, 2005). He blogs daily at www.markdroberts.com.