These sure are some strange days. Fake news, talking heads, spin doctors and blatant denials of the facts and bold-faced lies are all taking their toll. People are becoming more and more skeptical. We are beginning to doubt about everything. In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Year for 2016 was “Post-Truth,” which means “the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than the concepts or facts known to be true.”This doubt that is infecting our society is also impacting how people trust or doubt the claims of faith.
A CNN report on Pew research suggests that doubt of God is growing quickly among Millennials. The report says, “While most young Americans, 68%, told Pew they never doubt God’s existence, that’s a 15-point drop in just five years.”
All this is why I thank God for Jesus’ disciple, Thomas. In John 20:24-25 the Bible says, “But one of the Twelve, Thomas (called ‘Twin’), was not with them when Jesus came. So, the other disciples kept telling him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘If I don’t see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!’”
One of the great anchors of the Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Like Thomas, we were not there, and so we struggle with doubt. Let me say I’m glad to know that the Bible recognizes that we struggle like this sometimes. God is strong enough to handle our doubts. If this is your struggle, here are a few things to remember:
Know that you are not alone. Neither was Thomas. Mark 9:24reports,“Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do believe; help my unbelief!’” In fact, Matthew 28:16-17 says after Jesus’ resurrection, “The 11 disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted.” Did you hear that? Some DOUBTED!
Allow God to open your eyes of faith. One week after Jesus appeared to disciples He appeared again. This time Thomas was present. John 24:27 (CSB) says, “Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless but believe.’” God can help you see things in His Word and around your life that will help you to see He is real and to help your faith to grow. Read your Bible and watch your doubts diminish.
We fight doubt with faith. In John 24:29, Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Remember it is really all about faith. He reminds us, “Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb. 11:6). Even James 1:6 says, “But let him ask in faith without doubting.For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” Everyday find a way to walk by faith and watch your doubts disappear.
There is an old song I can remember singing in church as a boy. The first chorus said, “You can’t make me doubt Him,” the second chorus let us know why, because “I know too much about Him!”
Mark Croston is General Editor for the YOU curriculum and National Director for Black Church Ministries at Lifeway Christian Resources.