I have a confession to make. Sometimes I lie awake at night wondering if all this is true. Is God really there? Is the Bible really true? What if Christianity is just some great hoax – the world’s worst April Fools’ Day joke – made up by a few fanatical followers of a dead prophet?
If this isn’t true, if the Bible is myths and fables, if Jesus isn’t God, then my whole life has been a waste. Think about it. My whole life is dedicated to teaching the Bible and telling people about Jesus. If it’s a lie, than I am an idiot and my whole life has been for nothing.
Do you ever have doubts? Do you ever lie awake at night wondering if all this is really true? What about all the other religions of the world? How do we know our God is the true God? Or maybe you have faced problems and pains or stood at the grave of a child and wondered, “If there really is a God how could this happen?”
If you’ve ever doubted, you are not alone. Every Christian at one point or another has had his or her misgivings. Even one of Jesus’ disciples doubted. In fact, history has dubiously dubbed him “Doubting Thomas.”
Do you remember the story of Doubting Thomas? On the first Easter Sunday, Jesus appeared to his disciples, proving that he had risen. They saw him. They touched him. He even ate some food to prove he wasn’t a ghost.
The only problem was, Thomas wasn’t there. The next morning, the other disciples went to tell him, “We have seen the Lord!”
“Yeah, right,” Thomas replied. “I’ll believe it when I see it!”
The next Sunday, the disciples were once again gathered together. This time Thomas was with them. Suddenly Jesus appeared. He showed Thomas the nail wounds in his hands and the spear wound in his side. Finally Thomas believed.
“Because you have seen me you have believed,” Jesus told him. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
But that’s not fair. Sure, Jesus calls us “blessed” because we have not seen him and yet have believed, but still, it’s not fair. Thomas got to see Jesus. Just think how much easier it would be to believe if we could just see what the people in the Bible saw.
Actually, it wouldn’t be.
Tens of thousands of people saw Jesus. They saw him feed the hungry, heal the sick and raise the dead. And yet, how many actually believed? Only a small handful.
The truth is, seeing isn’t believing. Even if I had physical proof – even if I had video tape of Jesus doing miracles and rising from the dead – that wouldn’t help. Many would still doubt. They would call it a hoax. They would try to prove it was a fake, because seeing isn’t believing.
Faith is hard. I can’t prove any of this to you. The only way we can believe is by the power of the Holy Spirit. As we read and hear God’s promises, the Holy Spirit quietly convinces us that it is true.
Now to be clear, God’s promises do not prove that our faith is true. Anybody could write a book and say, “This is God’s Word.” The Bible doesn’t prove anything. Yet, as we read God’s Word, the Holy Spirit convinces us that, yeah, this is true, even though we can’t see it.
Do you struggle with doubt? Do you wonder at times if all this is true? Are you afraid deep down it might not be? Go to church. Open your Bible. Take Holy Communion. Go back to God’s promises. That’s how the Holy Spirit convinces us. That’s how he strengthens our faith. That’s how he helps us deal with our doubts.