Archive for April 9th, 2007

Wasted Faith

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Today’s scripture: John 20:19-31 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (David Squire):

Poor Thomas! It seems he’s remembered exclusively as “Doubting Thomas”, and held up only as a bad example. But I admire him.

It would have been so much easier for him to just follow the crowd. All his friends were saying they had seen Jesus, and it must have been so tempting to go along, not make waves, say and do the “right” things, even if he didn’t believe it.

But he couldn’t do it. He dared to be honest with himself, and with his faith community. He refused to be silent and pretend to believe something he didn’t.

That’s a hard thing to do.

I was raised in a faith tradition that practically worshipped the Bible. Using terms like “verbal plenary inspiration” and a handful of proof-texts, they claimed that the Bible is the literal “Word of God.” They taught that it is infallible in its teachings on spiritual matters, and accurate in history and science, as well. But there was always a part of me, a little voice in my soul, that said, “I think you’re wrong about that.” All of their carefully-crafted reasoning felt like a house of cards.

Forcing myself to believe what is unbelievable to me doesn’t just make me a phony, it wastes my faith.

I think of it this way: I’m not sure what unit we can use to measure our faith, but let’s say it’s quarts. And assume God has given me the capacity for two quarts of faith. Often in my past, it felt like it took a quart-and-a-half just to convince myself that what they said about the Bible was really true. So I had very little faith left for what really mattered — the tough stuff that life throws at us, and working out my relationship with God. Once I was able to jettison what wasn’t true — once I was able to be honest about what I could and couldn’t believe — I found reserves of faith I didn’t know I had.

And look at what “doubting” got for Thomas: a personal appearance by Jesus Christ, just for him, to give him the assurance that his belief was not in vain.

That’s what I found, too. Once I was able to say, “Jesus, I won’t believe this unless you show me,” I found that Jesus was quite willing to lead me in my search for truth.

I think I’ll call him “Honest Thomas” from now on.

Thought for the day: What areas of your faith feel forced or dishonest? It’s safe to say to God, just like Thomas did, “I won’t believe it unless you show me.”

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need help getting started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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