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What will be left when I've drawn my last breath
Besides the folks I've met and the folks who've known me
Will I discover a soul-saving love
Or just the dirt above and below me

This is the question at the heart of the classic pop/bluegrass hit ‘Doubting Thomas’ by Nickel Creek. Give it a listen and then take stock of your faith.

I look at my heart and see how it shapes how I live my life, how it colours my worship. And during this season of Easter as we remember and reflect on the Resurrection of Jesus, it can feel a bit much. 

Do I actually believe Jesus rose from the dead and now everything is different?

Maybe sometimes we find ourselves singing the chorus:

I'm a doubting Thomas
I took a promise
But I do not feel safe
Oh me of little faith

We take the promise of the love of God found in the risen Christ, but it doesn’t feel safe. We just don’t know if we believe it half the time. Maybe most of the time if we’re honest.

And honesty is key.

Because the truth is that doubt plays a crucial role in the life of faith. Doubt moves you to explore, to ask, to consider, to have a flourishing life of the mind that prays for wisdom and discernment when considering the knowledge we have and being honest of the facts we don’t. 

Because an honest life of faith doesn’t claim to have all the answers, or else it couldn’t be faith. Because to have no doubt is to find ourselves at the end of time standing before God with the complete Beatific Vision, singing Holy Holy Holy. And the truth is: we’re not there yet. An honest faith recognizes that there are limits to our knowledge, 

However, God HAS disclosed something to us. 

Something beautiful, healing, wonderful, that is at least a fact… but more. 

We have been given a Son, and his name is Immanuel, God with us. And this Son, Jesus of Nazareth, has lived and died for us. And God has raised him from the dead, for us. And though there is much we don’t know, we are given this bit of knowledge that, when believed by faith, is more than knowledge. It becomes to us what it has always been, a balm that, far from being a source of anxiety and doubt, becomes a reason why we trust that the love of God can be found in the messy places of our lives that just don’t have answers right now. 

As he raised Jesus from the dead, God can and will raise the dead things in our lives to a new and better life. The job we lost, the relationship that has ended, even the loved ones that have died, all are returned to us because God is a God of the living, not the dead. 

But doubt walks with us. And here honesty is key. Because there is honest doubt, and dishonest doubt. There is the doubt that genuinely doesn't know and seeks for answers if they can be had, and content to trust where they can’t.

Sometimes I pray for a slap in the face
Then I beg to be spared cause I'm a coward
If there's a master of death
I bet he's holding his breath
As I show the blind and tell the deaf about his power

This other doubt is a smoke screen, and it isn’t honest. This doubt only serves to deflect an honest spirituality and settle for the pat-answers of our sceptical age, confusing the questions arising from doubt as proof that answers cannot be had. And this kind of doubt is not honest, it is a mistake. 

Can I be used to help others find truth
When I'm scared I'll find proof that it's a lie
Can I be led down a trail dropping bread crumbs
That prove I'm not ready to die

More often than not, we don’t challenge this kind of doubt and allow it to live rent free in our hearts and minds. This doubt stops us from sharing the hope that we have in Jesus in warm and credible ways with those around us. This doubt is the kind that undermines our trust that God raised Jesus from the dead and now everything is different. We are robbed of the hope found in the Cross of Christ to heal all wounds, and instead settle for lesser answers found in politics and the comfort purchased by success and money, counterfeit sources of hope that more likely rob us of sleep and exist as sources of division and strife among us. 

Please give me time to decipher the signs
Please forgive me for time that I've wasted

And St. Paul writes:

And do this, understanding the present time: the hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Romans 13.11

Let’s take stock of our faith. Where there is dishonesty in our doubt, let us wake up from our slumber and repent. And where there is honest doubt, a genuine hope to understand and believe the One who has saved us from death, let’s do something about that. 

Maybe a start is to read a book on God or a book on the resurrection,

or check out a helpful podcast, 

or do a free online course.

All supported by communal prayer and song. For the honest journey of faith isn’t solitary, it’s found among fellow pilgrims on the road. 

So my dear fellow pilgrims, I hope to see you on Sunday at 10am. And if this has brought up questions and you want to talk about it, let’s grab a coffee. I’d love to connect with you. You in?

In Christ, 
Rev. Seth