Summary: How do we keep from allowing doubts pull us away from God?
[Read John 20: 24-29]
When We Doubt
John 20: 24-29
If you reach in your pocket, your purse or your wallet, and pulled out a coin or paper money, and you looked at it, it wouldn’t take you long to find the phrase “In God We Trust” printed on the face of it.
But you don’t have to believe that phrase to use that money, do you? I understand they are supposed to be producing a new $1 coin that doesn’t have it printed on the front or the back, but has it on the edge. I guess that’s an attempt to be politically correct, or to satisfy those who cry out about separation of church and state, without actually getting rid of it—yet.
So you don’t have to believe in God to use that money. As a matter of fact, many people trust in technology. How many of you have ever been typing on the computer at work, and the computer just froze up, and you had to turn it off to clear the memory, so you lost what you were working on? People trust in medical science, but, as advanced as our medical knowledge as care has come, it simply cannot deal with every circumstance. Some people trust in human counsel—we’ve all read the “Dear Abby” and “Ann Landers” columns in the newspapers from people looking for advice. We trust in social programs, They have grown tremendously over the years. There’s a lot of people who need help, some who abuse them, and some who need help, but can’t legally get it. Some people trust in their own intuition or abilities to face life. I was recently reminded of a man who built his own floating island off the coast of Cancun, Mexico, out of empty, plastic bottles. He put the bottles in bags and tied them together, and spiraled them around, tying them together. He could keep adding to them. He put poles across the bottles, and laid down plywood, then, he started bringing dirt in, and he planted different kinds of plants and vegetables, and bushed and small trees. He built a house, and raised chickens, and became self-sufficient. It was so sturdy, it lasted through a couple of hurricanes. It was finally destroyed in a hurricane, but he’s back at it again.
We trust in any number of things and people, and many times, we’re let down, aren’t we. We can even put our trust in God, and sometimes we believe that He let’s us down, don’t we? All you have to do is go to the book of Psalms, and you will find David himself, a man after God’s own heart, cry out things like:
How long, O Lord, until you restore me?
O Lord, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?
He’s so frustrated one time, he said, “Wake up, my God, and bring justice!”
The disciples experienced the same thing with Jesus. Here’s the Messiah—the One who’s supposed to deliver them and make them a free nation again. And he’s arrested, beaten, hung on a cross to die, and buried in a tomb. This wasn’t supposed to happen!
So when the women brought back word that Jesus was alive that Easter morning, they thought their story was nonsense. They didn’t believe it. Peter went to the tomb, saw it was empty, and went home wondering what had happened. Of course, Jesus appeared to them that night, and they believed. Thomas wasn’t with them that night, though. They began to tell Thomas, “We’ve seen the Lord!” And Thomas acted the same way toward them that they had acted toward the women. He said, “You’re talking nonsense. I don’t believe it!” He went so far as to say, “Unless I see the places where the nails were in His hands and touch them, and feel the place in His side where the spear went through, I’ll never believe it!”
Thomas doubted. The disciples had doubted. David in the Psalms doubted.
God came to Moses and said, “I’ve heard the cries of my people, and I’m going to deliver them from slavery in Egypt. So, Moses, I’m going to send you to deliver them.” And Moses said, “Wait a minute, Lord. Who will I say sent me? And What’s Your name? and What if they don’t believe me? And I don’t speak very well.” Finally, Moses just said, “Lord, I think You’ve got the wrong guy. You need to pick somebody else.” He doubted God.
God came to Abraham and Sarah and said, “You’re going to have a son,” and Sarah laughed at God. It’s like she was saying, “God, do you really know how old I am? You’ve got to be out of Your mind!” She doubted.