Belief is not blind. Faith is not mindless.
How saddening it would be if it were. We are given eyes, ears, memories, minds that turn things over – to then only have the ultimate truth be one that requires shedding of these tools that otherwise are how we determine reality?
Doubt is a natural experience of the human. In the garden, we wondered at the validity of what we have been told. The sin of unbelief – settling into disbelief at God – was our downfall. And after the fall, in a world that is far from its intended masterpiece, doubt – the wavering between two beliefs – is close, tempting us to end at unbelief.
Doubt is nothing to glorify or find pleasure in, as some today might try and tell you. For those who have experienced it, James 1:6 is all too real – the unsteadiness is sickening, the pain of being tossed to and fro breaks the footings we relied on. When we settle on the sands of doubt, we have a divided mind and heart.
One might think God would meet someone in this state with disapproval. However, Jesus, God embodied (John 1:14), shows a different story.
There are three instances in the New Testament where Jesus is met with a doubting follower. And He answers them all the same.
John the Baptist, in the moments before his execution, sends messengers to ask Jesus to level with him – are you truly the Messiah? Have we been led on? Should we look for another?
Thomas, days after watching his most beloved Teacher and Lord be crucified as a criminal, in the throes of grief, is told that Jesus lives. Thomas cannot afford to get his hopes up. “I have to see for myself before I believe you.”
And here, Philip, walking closely with Jesus for several years, questions whether He is the God incarnate.
Jesus in merciful understanding, in no uncertain terms, responds to the three.
To John, He sends back the message: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.” (Matthew 11:4)
To Thomas, the request is granted with patience and personal touch, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” (John 20:27)
To Philip, He answers with the call to remember all that He has done – all that Philip has seen, heard, and experienced firsthand.
In the face of doubt, we can do the same: read of what wonders He did in His life on earth, see the mark He made in history as the man who rose from the dead, and remember His faithfulness in our own lives as we have walked with Him.
Our belief based on sight, our faith known by the mind.
To the doubter, Jesus says, “Come. Find me to be true.”