Many of us have been taught that doubting what we believe is comparable to a deadly sin. As a budding Christian I had the hardest time trying to wrap my mind around the idea that before anything was created, God had always existed. In the midst of nothing, the fullness of everything was there, for He was and is and will always be complete, lacking nothing. I asked these questions, yet I was often turned away. I quickly learned that if you had questions, or a hint of doubt, you were displaying weakness as a Christian.
This dismissal of doubt among believers still persists! Somehow the litmus test of "true discipleship" has been identified as never hesitating, never wavering, and never asking questions. As a result we have produced legions of Christ followers that cannot defend their faith because they were never given a safe place to ask those hard questions.
I find that Jesus takes a much more gracious approach when answering his doubters; who by the way were among his greatest companions. After three years of miracle-filled ministry on earth, the disciples watched as Jesus would astound the religious experts of his day. They witnessed the dead restored, the sick healed, demons driven out, food multiplied, the wind and the waves subdued. To top it all off, they heard Jesus speak with his own words that he would be crucified and rise again and he did just that!
Now here they sit as Jesus is about to give his final words, in his resurrected body, after having shown himself as the risen Lord to hundreds of people. "So the eleven disciples went to Galilee to the mountain Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:16-31).
To the very end of Christ's earthly ministry the scripture tells us that some still doubted! He could have yelled out, "Hey you in the back! I know you have questions and I know you are hesitant so I don't want you on my team!" Yet this was not his response. Jesus does not rebuke his disciples, but instead he holds out his assurance as if to say doubters are welcome here.
He knowingly gives them what I like to call a “spiritual antacid” to squelch their fears. He simply tells them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." This is the cure for their doubt! He reminds them that he is God incarnate, he is the promised one, and everything in heaven and earth is made by him, through him and for him (Colossians 1:16).
While we as disciples may waver when we don't understand, we too are grounded in this unwavering truth of who Christ is! "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation," (Colossians 1:15). Our questions are not too much for our God; he does not shrink back from them and neither should we. He has enough grace to pull us unto himself in spite of our doubt.
Jesus then goes on to outline the Great Commission. He knew that some were hesitant, that there were unanswered questions among them, yet he gave them the charge to disciple the world on his behalf!
What a beautiful picture of God’s gracious heart towards man. Even in the midst of unjustifiable doubt he blesses us to be the instruments of his Word here on earth. He still entrusted that rag tag band of questioning disciples with the transformation of the world after his departure!
So the next time the flame of hesitation arises in your walk don't bury yourself in shame. Don't hide your questions, because truly God already knows. Instead run to the Christ you are questioning! Nothing we can bring before God is too hard to answer, no moment of fear is enough to drive away his love. God wants you, oh doubter, on his team because it is only in his grace that you can be built up and strengthened and used by the power of God.