Posted by Dena on July 15, 2006, at 16:44:37
In reply to Re: I went to the cathedral, posted by Toph on July 15, 2006, at 15:59:59
> > hoping something useful came from my rambling meanderings...!
> Thank you Dena. Those appear to be very genuine words of faith uttered by someone with far more knowledge and work on the subject than I have. It may have opened the door a crack for a rational doubter such as myself.
I've always taken great comfort in the fact that Jesus never seemed to be fazed or disturbed by other's doubts ...
The one guy who has a demon-possessed son, who brings him to Jesus:
"21Jesus asked the boy's father, 'How long has he been like this?'
'From childhood,' he answered. 22'It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.'
23 'If you can?' said Jesus. 'Everything is possible for him who believes.'
24Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, 'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!' "
And then, Jesus cast out the spirit, and the boy was free.
What I love about that is that the father admitted his ambivalence... he had both a smidgeon of belief, as well as some unbelief... and he recognized that he was powerless to overcome his own unbelief... he asked for Jesus' help. I'm betting that seeing his own son transformed before his eyes helped him to overcome a bit of that unbelief...!
Another example that I love is later on, after His death and resurrection... He's appeared to some of His disciples, but apparently Thomas wasn't with them, and Thomas says he won't believe that He's resurrected unless and until he sees for himself AND puts his own hands in Jesus' wounds...! I like that he's not a pushover, believing everything anyone says, and swallowing stories whole (like so many Christians gullibly do today)... I like that he wants to believe for himself, and not second-hand. I believe that shows integrity...
I'll show you what happens next:
"24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord!'
But he said to them, 'Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.'
26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!' 27Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'
28Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!'
29Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'"
What I love about this passage, is that Jesus meets Thomas "where he is", in the midst of his doubting, and gives him what he needs in order to believe. He does seem to imply that those who can believe without "proof" are blessed (& perhaps that's the preferable way to come to Him), He doesn't put Thomas down for needing that proof... doesn't shame him.
I believe He does that for each of us who seek Him... one of my favorte (& reassuring!) verses is, "If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me."
I like that.
I like that He seems to respond to our sincerity, even if it's clouded with doubts and questions, and fears, and reservations... and I believe (& have experienced) that He likes our honesty about those things, rather than some sort of pious denial of ever having those reservations.
He seems to like it when we bring Him, in total vulnerability, that tiny "mustard-seed" sized morsel of scraped-together faith, and hold it out to Him, even with shaking hands and knocking knees, and even dare Him to come through... and make Himself real to us.
I'll spare you anything else resembling a "sermon", since I've given up on sermons in my own life...! (I prefer dialogue between those who are seeking Him, rather than a monologue delivered from one at a distance...)
However, if you're interested, I can recommend a rather unusual book I've just finished: "Searching For God Knows What" by Donald Miller... he writes in an most engaging, heart-baring, painfully honest way that just grabs me!
And Toph, He sees the crack in your door, and while He will never violate your will by shoving it open further, don't be too surprised if you see His welcoming eyes peering in, through that crack, inviting you to peek back, and perchance to engage... He'll let you set the pace.