We sat around a table enjoying birthday cake and conversation. The topic of Martha and Mary came up. The question was posed whether each person at the table saw themselves as one or the other. As the only male at the table, I bucked the trend when the question reached me. “Thomas,” was my reply and it met with questioning looks. Someone mentioned that Thomas was known as the doubter.
I refrained from explaining my rationale and just let it pass. I had a very valid reason for picking Thomas. He typifies most of our spiritual lives if we’re honest. He is the one singled out as a doubter but he was not the only one.
Peter, James, John and the other male disciples did not believe the women after they told all they’d seen in the garden on resurrection morning. Later when Jesus appeared to the disciples, they were frightened. Jesus asked them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” Finally, on the day Jesus ascended into heaven, Matthew tells us that, “When they saw him they worshipped him, but some doubted.”
We as a people are good at doubt. We focus so easily on what is in front of us and not on the unseen. That is why trust/faith is so integral to salvation. It flies in the face of human nature and requires us to trust a God we have never seen with human eyes. I’ve been reading through Proverbs 3 the last couple of days. I keep coming back to the verses we’ve seen on decorative pillows, posters and coffee mugs.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
My career requires me to analyze problems and then solve those problems. This conflicts with the faith and trust required in my relationship with Christ. When I can’t solve a problem, my brain wants to try harder and find new information instead of running to my heavenly Father in surrender. If left unchecked, this kind of life can devolve into legalism or moralism. I’ve seen the symptoms in my life from time to time and it grieves me.
I just can’t fully let go and trust. I want to trust. I want to surrender. At times I have truly done both. Some might tell me to “Let go and let God.”
The problem with this saying is we’ve turned it into a magical spell. We think if we “let go” then God will swoop in and fix our problem right then. He doesn’t work on our timetable and he may never “fix” things the way we want them to be. The other problem is if we do “let go” and God does intervene, then we try and take back control and trust as soon as things are back on course. But trusting God requires surrender and we don’t like to surrender.
So I’m left examining my heart and asking God the hard questions:
- Do I trust you enough with my job?
- Do I trust you’ll work out my relationships?
- Do I trust you have my best interests in mind?
- Do I believe your grace is sufficient?
- Do I believe your mercy is overwhelming?
- Do I believe you are enough?
The only reply that comes to mind is the answer of an anguished father, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” I would add to his cry, “And give me the strength to surrender.”