Dealing with Doubt
A few weeks ago, we talked about the reasons why we need community. This week, I want to dig a little deeper into the significance of doubt within that same community.
The famous story takes place in John 20:24-29. Thomas was one of the disciples that walked with Jesus, but he is most commonly known for his doubt. He is often called Doubting Thomas. I believe one of the greatest desires as humans is to be known and to feel loved. Being known happens in the context of community, and to be loved also happens in that same community. Thomas made himself known as he confessed his doubts. He said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Thomas had been in relationship with Jesus, and part of the relationship had died when Jesus went to the cross. All that he had hoped for and believed in was gone; then, three days later, the rumors spread and his beloved brothers (disciples) began to claim they saw Jesus. Could it be, was he back? Thomas was struggling to believe; yet, amidst that anxiety and fear, he confessed his doubts to his community. Despite his unbelief, he placed himself in a vulnerable position and made his feelings known. He gave his community the opportunity to care for him.
I’ve been there before -- at a place where I confess something in community but I wasn’t met with care or love. Admitting doubt and even being vulnerable can be a terrifying thing, which leads us to doubt outside of community. We then never truly share where we are in life or in our relationship with God due to fear of rejection. Not all doubt is a gift, but Thomas’ doubt was.
Doubting alone can lead to isolation. It is in isolation that we settle for the lie that we aren’t cared for. However, when we confess truth, it allows us to be known and cared for. When we feel cared for, it draws us closer to Jesus. It is Thomas’ confession in community that drew him closer to Jesus. Jesus met him in that confession of doubt. Jesus can handle our doubt as well. Every time we confess, Jesus meets us within our community; he shows up and allows us to be known and cared for. Jesus wants nothing more than to pull you out of your doubt and despair, and to surround you with a community that can care for you.
Lord, we ask that you would allow us to make ourselves known, that we would confess our doubts and fears, and that we would be cared for. I pray for chains to be broken and that Jesus would continue to show up in our lives. I pray we are surrounded by community that shows up in our lives and cares for us well.