Wait, I have some questions
Who doesn’t? Jesus loved people with honest questions. He’s big enough to handle your doubts and he won’t condemn you for them. Some people use their questions as an excuse to delay making a decision forever, but that’s not the heart of an honest questioner. People who are really seeking answers, do so because they actually want to arrive at a decision and they’re not afraid to act on those answers when they come.
Jesus encouraged people to turn their questions into heart-felt, humble prayers. You may want answers to a specific problem or situation, maybe you’re not even sure if God exists. God can handle that.
There are many believers whose journey to faith started with the prayer,
‘God if you’re there, help me to find you’.
That’s true for people today, and it was true for people in Jesus’ day. One of those people was Thomas.
Thomas had questions, but he also had courage. He decided that if Jesus really was God, then he would lay down his life for him. We know this, because Thomas encouraged the other disciples to prepare to die for Jesus when they went down to Jerusalem. But for some reason, he wasn’t with the other disciples when Jesus first rose from the dead and he thought the idea of a resurrection was frankly ridiculous.
Here’s what he said,
‘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.’
Jesus didn’t scold him for his unbelief for he saw in Thomas a heart of integrity even though he had doubts, so he took Thomas at his word and tracked him down.
The story continues like this,
“A 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!’ Then 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.’
Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’
Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
That’s Jesus’ way.
He graciously answered Thomas’ prayer and Thomas responded in faith. Many others have done the same and many others have not. The Bible is very honest about the fact that some people embraced Jesus’ movement heart and soul, while others walked away unconvinced.
Jesus was never insecure about people’s opinion of him and he outright avoided popularity because he knew how fickle it can be. He simply wanted to present people with the opportunity to follow him and let them make up their own mind. The same is true today.
But there’s an interesting detail at that last verse. Jesus knows that some of us struggle to believe when we weren’t there. He respected Thomas and he respects us by saying we are blessed for having faith without the experience that Thomas had.
But he doesn’t expect us to have blind faith. In fact, that’s the last thing he wants. He loved an honest question then, and he still loves one now. Why not turn your questions into a prayer?
Open one of the gospels and have a read, track down some Christians and give them a grilling, visit a church and if they’re running an Alpha course, why not sign up?
Don’t be afraid to seek answers. One of my favourite writers once said that ‘God doesn’t hide from us, he hides for us’.
Like a Father playing hide-and-seek with his children, he invites us to come looking.