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Monday, March 28, 2016

Do Not Be Faithless

 This year is only a few months old, but there has already been a theme running through it...and I feel it deep: be not faithless but believing. 
 Doubt. That shady character seems to follow me everywhere. As often as I try to ignore his presence, he still seems to find ways to make himself known. And so I must continually dismiss him with a word of faith. A reminder that God has not left me and that my fears, while seemingly real, are nothing compared to the ability of my Lord to hear, save, and restore. 
 I am reminded of the disciple in the scriptures named Thomas who refused to believe in the resurrection of Christ until he had proof. Even after three years of following Jesus around and hearing him speak of his future rising from the dead, Thomas could not shake his own doubts. He couldn't accept that such an impossibility could become reality through the power of God. His own understanding limited his ability to believe. And the Lord himself, while patient with Thomas's questions and skepticism, urged him to believe things unseen as things seen...for that is where his faith would be found (John 20:24-29).
I read the story of this man again...and insert my own name in his place. I discover many times when others have told me of Christ's mighty acts: "we have seen the Lord" (vs. 24) and I have responded in unbelief: until He proves himself to me, "I will not believe." My humiliation has come when Christ himself has lovingly appeared to my doubting heart and said, "Peace be with you," when all I expected or deserved was a rebuke for my refusal to accept Him for who He is. How often He has then followed up his greeting of peace with the simple yet profound words, "Be not faithless, but believing" (vs. 26). In that moment, I have had no choice but to confront my inner Thomas and say, "My Lord and my God!" 
 Faith is a scary business. It empties me of me and causes me to resign my will to the things humanly impossible and illogical. Because it removes self from the equation, I am left to the control and direction of Almighty God. I cannot rely on my own understanding or my own ability to see and comprehend because, like Thomas, it limits me from seeing God for who He truly is. My eyes become blinded with the darkness of my own reason, and I miss the many ways in which the Lord is working. I grow discontent because I think my will has been violated, and I forget that I do not belong to myself in the first place. I miss His miracles, His blessings, because I am too occupied trying to trace His path and figure out where He leads...and yes, even make sure that it matches with my desires. So often, He must stand there and say as he did to His followers, "Oh you of little faith! Why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:31) 
 If I am truly honest, faith in action leaves no room for doubt. Because faith is believing a fully capable and sovereign God to act on the behalf of those He loves. How might I grow in my belief of Him if I would just get myself out of the way?! How might His presence becomes more real to me if I would stop trying to understand Him and just trust Him instead?! 
 In this year 2016, I have seen many things that have reminded me of God's ability and my in-ability to do the impossible. He has done many works that have brought to mind the truth that doubt does nothing for me - except withhold peace of soul and spiritual sight. If I am to truly behold God, if I am to see Him as my Lord and my God, then I must not be faithless, but believing. I must ask Him to remove the inner Thomas from my heart so that I can believe God for who He is...and also beseech Him to replace that doubt and fear with a bold faith that holds firm. A faith that believes without having to see. A faith that needs no proof because God alone is proof enough.