How am I supposed to trust a God that I can not see? How am I supposed to believe in someone that I can’t hear? How am I supposed to surrender to a person who I can’t touch?
If you’re a believer in Christ, those questions spark one of two reactions:
- Yes. Amen. I’ve been asking this question for years. I thought I was the only one.
- Ummm….duh. That’s what faith is. How can you be a believer if you don’t understand that?
I fall into a somewhere in the middle category.
One the one hand, I totally understand the first thought. Sure. Hebrews 11:1 is pretty straight forward about this concept. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith is all about the unseen. That’s why it’s so hard. The disciples were following a physical, living, breathing, tangible (are people considered tangible?) human. I often think about how strange it is that they were following Jesus, watching Him be all God and stuff and many of them still doubted and betrayed him. It’s mind boggling.
I mean, there He is. Healing the handicapped. Giving blind people sight. Telling the lame to walk. Raising folks from the dead. I mean, how hard would it have been to believe? Something was clearly going on with this Jesus guy amiright? I mean, how hard could it have been to follow him?
Now…we are here. In the 21st century. Jesus has been gone for 2000+ years and we (our countries) have pushed Him about as far out of our lives as possible. They wanted Him out of our schools, our public places, and (ironically) we are taking Him out of our churches in more ways that I think we are keeping Him. We expect Him to fix our problems without fixing ourselves. We put Him on our own time table and then we wonder why things don’t go according to plan. Then, when all is said and done we doubt. We question. We wonder why we are even in this whole “religious, Jesus believing thing” anyway.
I get it, guys. When both of my grandmothers passed away within a 10 day window…when I watched our entire house go up in flames for the 4th or 5th time (no, I am not exaggerating)…I really wondered where God was. I remember throwing a rock through a window in our house after it burned and telling God how much I hated Him. It’s really easy to believe God is real when things go our way. But, it’s hard as hell to believe in Him when everything feels like it’s going wrong.
Yet, simultaneously, I clench my fists and get irritated when people question. It’s one of those things that just riles me up and makes me shake my head. The self-righteousness within me shakes her head and thinks exactly what I don’t want to think: how can they claim to be a believer when they think like that?
I’ve decided that God expects us to doubt. I think He knew long, long ago that all of us, at some point in our lives, would doubt whether He was real and whether He was actually there. Otherwise, I don’t think that the book of Hebrews would have ever been written. In fact, I don’t think that very many of the stories in the Bible would have been written if God didn’t already expect our minuscule thought patterns to create hesitation in our belief. You don’t have to go very far into scripture to find stories of faltering faith. I mean, hello? Adam & Eve walked the garden with God in the flesh…and still they doubted. Still they fell flat on their face and created the mess that we are in today (well, kind of but you get my drift).
I read the story in Mark where Jesus stood before the council, prior to being crucified. They all brought evidence against Him as to why he should die. After they all gave accounts, none of which was of enough merit to warrant death. The high priest asked Him point blank who he was and he answered. Upon that, the high priest simply said, Why do we need any more witnesses [Mark 14:63 NIV]?
Why do we need any more witnesses?
Think about that question for a second. Then ask yourself the same thing: Why do you need any more witnesses to tell you who Christ was, is and always will be? Why do you not believe? Why do you hesitate because things aren’t perfect? Why do you, when you have every kind of evidence you could ever need from the air in your lungs and the beating of your heart, to the fact that the ocean stops at a certain point on the shores?
We have the proof all around us.
Are we just so blinded by our selfishness and what we think should be happening that we can’t see it? Or are we just choosing not to see it, because once we do…we enter a whole new level of accountability and responsibility to those who don’t know yet?