WHY DO YOU DOUBT?
It has been 35 days since we celebrated Easter. In Acts 1:3, we can see after Jesus rose from the grave, he talked with his remaining disciples for 40 days. I would like us to go back to the first week after Jesus rose from the grave to see what was going on immediately after Jesus had risen. I would like to look at what John recorded in Chapter 20, verses 19-31. In the 19th verse, we see what happened was on the very day Jesus had risen from the grave. The disciples that were gathered were afraid the Jews would be coming after them, so they hid away. They locked themselves in a room out of fear. Does that remind you of anything? While they had been told earlier Jesus was alive, they just did not believe it. They believed they understood what God had in mind but all that had changed on the cross. Even though Jesus had told them what would happen they did not really understand. So, as they were hiding out together Jesus suddenly appeared. Did he knock on the door and announce who he was? No, he just instantly appeared in the room with them. He showed them proof that it was really him alive and well. He continued to teach and encourage them while they were there together. When the disciples caught up with Thomas, who was not there with them when Jesus first appeared, they told him what they had seen and that they had talked to Jesus. He is alive. So how did Thomas react? Did he say I knew he would be back alive? Did he say I knew God had a plan? No because of his own disappointment, he did not believe. He may have told them you guys are dreaming or its wishful thinking, maybe he even said you are nuts. I saw him die on the cross just like you. No, until he saw him with his own eyes, the places on his hands and side that he had been wounded and killed, he would not believe. How often have we been disappointed and disillusioned to the point we refuse to believe there can be any good news? That we demand some proof before we will believe things can be different. Most of us have put our faith in someone we trusted only to have them let us down. This is what Thomas was feeling and nothing was going to change that until he saw the proof himself. So, we read in the 26th verse all of them were together a week later when it happened. Once again, though the doors were locked, Jesus was there. Jesus knew what Thomas was thinking so he instantly invited him to touch his hands and side. Thomas then immediately responded to Jesus out of guilt for doubting his friends and his God. Probably many of the things Jesus had shared with him and the others during the three years they were together came rushing back to him. Why did he doubt? Why didn’t he have the faith in God he should have had is probably what he thought. What is faith? Some of the definitions are (1) a firm belief for something for which there is no proof and (2) simple: complete trust. I believe the biblical definition for faith is found in Hebrews 11:1. I like the King James version, which says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Can we blame Thomas for doubting, for not having enough faith? Would you and I have reacted any differently? We are confronted with questions virtually every day, especially lately. Why are things happening as they are? If there is a God, why? As the virus that is affecting our world, I hear the same responses Thomas made. We cannot go on with life as it was without a vaccine or a cure or until it has completely gone away. This is what the experts say and what we are told to believe. What are we as Christians to believe? What should we as Christians do? I wish I had an absolute answer to those questions. Many of us Christians in America seem to call on God only when we cannot do things on our own. We have been blessed by God to, in most cases, have a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our backs, maybe even a car to drive. While we may not have everything we want, most of us would have to admit we pretty much have everything we need. Often times we call on God to help us out only when the situation is beyond our control. Like Thomas we can become disillusioned, even angry when we do not understand and lose control. We may say what’s the use? Am I going to be full of doubt and lacking faith when I do not see things happening the way I think they should? In Luke 18 in the last half of verse 8, a very pointed question is asked, “When the Son of Man comes will he find faith on the Earth?” We all will have doubts and fears from time to time for a variety of reasons. Our faith will be tested, not by God, but by our own doubts and fear Satan convinces us of. I do not know why this virus continues on in America and around the world. Going back to the verses we read in John, Jesus said something really interesting to Thomas in verse 29. “You believe because you have seen, blessed are those who have not seen, yet believe.” Jesus was talking to you and me if we are willing to put aside our doubts and fears and believe. Are we going to be like Thomas and only believe things will be alright if we see proof or are we willing to cast aside those doubts and fears and say “God I believe.” Will we step out in faith as Thomas finally did? Yes, it took some convincing for him but will we be those Jesus said “blessed are those who have not seen yet believe.” Will we say “my Lord and my God” and stop doubting our God?
May the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face to sine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Have a safe and blessed week. Remember God loves you and we love you. See you next week.
May 24: Worship with us on facebook live at 10:00 when Larry gives the message. You can also watch this any time after the session is over. We will worship this way during the rest of May, or as long as the stay-at-home order is in effect.
Graduates: Jordan Wright, Madison Warren, and Allena Vest graduate from CGHS.
Congratulations to all three and the rest of the graduates!
Cancelled: all May and June camps at Camp Emmanuel
Annual Conference in July
Upper Room: May/June issues are still available in the copy room at church. Call Nancy Born-Martin if you are unable to get one, and she will be sure you get a copy. Large print and regular are available. You may also get a PDF copy of the May/June issue of UPPER ROOM on line at www.upperroom.org/covid-19
Offerings: Thanks to everyone for keeping up with your offerings! Please continue to either mail your offerings to the church at PO Box 45 or, if you have a key to the church, put it in the donation box at the back of the sanctuary in a properly marked envelope.
Please let Stacie Warren or Larry Traxler know of any supplies you need and are unable to get for yourself. Someone in the church will get them for you.
Let Carol Kussart or Kathy Gentry know if you need a mask.
June 7: tentative date for the Strawberry Festival, with pre-orders and curbside delivery; We hope to find out within a day or two if we can have it on the 7th or the 14th.
June 10: Board Meeting
First Sunday of the month: Food Banks
Food needs: boxes of cereal, boxes of prepared foods, such as soups, potatoes, rice, mac & cheese, peanut butter, jelly
This month please consider sending The Lord’s Storehouse a monetary donation. The address is PO Box 229, La Place, IL 61936.
Donation Box May and June: Vacation Bible School
--Don’t forget to check mailboxes when you are able.
Keep up on denominational happenings at www.brethren.org
Larry Traxler’s phone number: 217-454-2362
Robin and Chelle Shively have a new address: 5260 E. Harbour Ct, Decatur, IL 62521
Debbie Wilson no longer uses a PO box but her street address.
Here is a link to a very informative blog post by Dr. Erin Bromage. It tells how the coronavirus can spread. This is information everyone can use today.
Keep in Your Prayers
Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Shirley Clarkson; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Ali Bryant; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Mike Gentry; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Jennifer Like; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; Joe Martina’s cousin who has COVID-19
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
Prayers and cards of encouragement are requested for:
Zola Copeland – 214 E. Fitch St. Forsyth, IL 62535-9668
Anna Rose Larrick – C/O Evergreen Place #110
4825 E. Evergreen Ct. Decatur IL 62521
Shawn Cain – 208 West Wait St. Cerro Gordo IL 61818
Robert Cripe – 21 Park Street Danville IL 61832