Doubt Comes Knocking
      Not long ago I heard Priscilla Shirer, a sought after speaker and writer, and author of the book, "God Is Able," talk about the many crisis junctures in her faith walk with Him, covering seemingly impossible situations concerning health, ministry, relationships, and her fitness as a follower of Christ.  On the surface, one might ask how such a person could write a book titled "God Is Able," but as she related, it was through His faithfulness in the midst of her doubts, insecurities, and yes, blindness, that she discovered, through His faithfulness, that God really is able.
      Somehow, I think we have made the presence of doubt in our lives so odious that we either collapse in defeat when we discover its presence, or just as bad, simply deny that it's there, thinking if we just say we believe enough, that alone will extinguish the lingering fear.  I don't think it will.  We do need to believe, to trust, but the power to do so, the grace, doesn't come from within us, but from within Him who is in us.  Jesus did say that if we believed, and did not doubt, we would see His mighty works, but I have come to believe that He was not saying that with the expectation that doubt would never show up in our lives, but more that it must not be an ongoing heart condition in us that defines our walk, that defines us.  If we're honest, like Shirer, we have all had times throughout our journey with Him where doubt came knocking at our heart's door.  The major factor here is not that doubt comes to call on us, but to Who we take that doubt and what we allow Him to do with it.  Christ doesn't fear our fear, our doubt, and though He tells us so many times to "fear not," the very number of times He said that must indicate that it would show up, at least from time to time, in the lives of His people.  The question is, what is our response when it does?
      The story of the encounter between the disciple Thomas, Doubting Thomas as he has come to be known, and Jesus after His resurrection is one that gives me great hope for myself, and for all of us, because there are times, when we, like Thomas, really struggle to believe.  We come to situations, circumstance so beyond our previous experience, that demand a trust and belief we have never before known, and we like Thomas, waver.  We've not been here before, and all around us, and before us is unknown.  We can't see anything, and we seem to know even less.  We wonder, where is He, and if we take another step, will He be there?  Is he there now?  Our hearts are not hardened towards Him, and we are not refusing to believe, but in this place we need Him, and into this place He comes.  Like Thomas, we have an encounter with the resurrected Christ,
and that encounter leaves us able to only say, like Thomas, "My Lord and my God."  We learn again, and anew, He is greater, mightier, than the unknown, the darkness, the fear and the threat.  We learn anew that the One who defeated death, will defeat what ever lies before us, indeed, already has defeated it.  Yes, He did say to Thomas blessed is he who believes without seeing, but He also knows that there are times that come to all of us when the only way we can take another step is if can sense Him.  It's not an arrogant demand, it doesn't come from a heart set to disobey or disregard.  It just comes from a deep yearning to have with us, the manifest presence of Him.  With that encounter, we can take the next step.
     I know something of this in my own life.  25 years ago, with my life in shambles around me, I had deep fears as to what would happen to me, how could I go on, and where would I go?  Sitting in a small cottage on a lonely campground, not understanding how I'd got here, and not knowing how I'd get past here, He came to me in my fear, in my unknowing, and ministered.  He didn't rebuke me for the fear, or the need to hear Him, but into my weakness, He poured His strength, He poured Himself.  Like Thomas, I encountered the resurrected Christ, and said, like Thomas, "My Lord and my God."  That was not the last place in my life where I had such an encounter, and I know there will be such times yet to come, but in all of them, He will come.  Doubt comes knocking, but His life comes bursting in.  If you're in such a place right now, allow Him to do the same with you.  He is really risen.  Allow Him to show you, anew, or for the first time, how true that really is.

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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