The Near Side and Far Side of Faith
I think there is faith on the near side of doubt and it’s a very shallow, superficial faith. Then there is faith on the far side of doubt, and if you get to the far side of doubt, you will have a tenuous faith that will hold you together when it seems like everything is falling apart. So I think, in a sense, doubt is not something to be feared, it is something to be celebrated.
Think of Thomas, the disciple. John 20:24-27 reads: “Now Thomas…one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “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.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
What a powerful moment. I love that Jesus met Thomas right where he was. Have you noticed that we’re all wired differently? Some people have more of an intellectual bent, some more of an emotional bent? Have you noticed how God has the ability to meet us at whatever place we are?
Some people need more evidence, more proof. They are wired in a way that their five senses need to have a greater comprehension. And on one level, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, but I think there comes a moment where you have got to go beyond your senses. Do you know that we have about 100,000,000 (one hundred million) sensory receptors that enable us to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell? And I think what a lot of us do is we are not going to believe anything that goes beyond our five senses, we are not going to believe anything that goes beyond what we can see or feel or taste or touch. The bottom line is this–your world is going to be limited to what your five senses can perceive. I’m suggesting that is not reality. You can’t even see the air that you breathe. Faith is going beyond those five senses.
I believe that my faith is not illogical. It’s not logical either, it is super-logical. It goes beyond the constraints of left-brain logic. If you could comprehend God, He wouldn’t be God. So what faith does is it allows us to live beyond what we can see or taste or touch, and I think that’s part of what Jesus is getting at. I love what Jesus to Thomas, the doubting disciple. He says, “Thomas, you are blessed because you have seen, but blessed are those who have not seen but still believe.” “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. There comes a moment where Thomas made his decision. He declares his faith in Christ. It is an incredible, life-changing moment. It is hard to fully encompass everything, but he makes a decision. In your journey of faith, there comes a moment when you have to make a faith-decision. We are all creatures of faith. We must decide to believe.
Deciding to believe starts an amazing spiritual chain reaction. The moment that we put our faith in Christ, our sin is forgiven and forgotten. Our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. In other words, our names get on the reservation list for heaven. We are adopted and become children of God. But one of the most amazing things that happens is that the Holy Spirit moves in and takes up residence within us. We have a Comforter and Counselor who helps us. I Corinthians 6:19 puts it this way, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? The Spirit comes in and fills us and empowers us and enlightens us. Why? So that we don’t do life in our own strength and our own wisdom, so He empowers us to live beyond our human ability-to live by faith. I can’t imagine living my life any other way.
Adapted from Doubting Thomas. www.theaterchurch.com