In Chennai, India, there’s a large Roman Catholic cathedral called San Thome Basilica. It’s named for Thomas, the doubting disciple. The church is built on the place where Thomas is buried—one of only three churches in the world thought to have been built over the tombs of Jesus’s disciples.
Why is this significant?
Because Thomas started as the “doubting disciple.” But he did not remain a doubter. When Jesus appeared to him after the Resurrection, Thomas believed. Not only that, but he traveled to India as a missionary. He preached the Gospel there. Ultimately, he became a martyr in India.
Thomas was killed for his beliefs. He resolved his doubts, and he died for his faith.
Like Thomas, all of us doubt God. It’s normal for Christians, and God understands.
Like Thomas, we should talk honestly about our doubts. On Resurrection Sunday, the other disciples told Thomas they had seen Jesus. Thomas refused to believe it. 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” (John 20:25).
And like Thomas, we can resolve our doubts. We can overcome them. Thomas resolved his doubts in the presence of the risen Christ.
When English translations of the Bible use the word doubt, they are translating the Greek word gastazo. Literally, this word means “two ways.” A modern phrase to describe this is “double vision.” Doubters are looking in two directions.
One is God’s direction. The other is the direction of disbelief. Doubters hesitate or lack conviction because they cannot decide between the two ways.
Even though doubt is a human condition, it creates tremendous problems. A person who can’t choose between two paths won’t go anywhere.
So how do we resolve our doubts? How does doubt turn into faith? Here are three steps:
First, give your doubts to God. You will never resolve them unless you hand them over to Him. Jesus was always gracious to doubters and God is sympathetic to your doubts.
Second, trust God’s Word to resolve your doubts. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” In other words, God’s Word is essential to replacing your doubt with faith. Thomas experienced Jesus directly and his doubts fell away. We experience Jesus through Scripture.
Third, take a step of faith and see what happens. Many times in my life, I have been standing at a place of doubt between two directions—between what I understood and between what God’s Word said. The only way I kept from being paralyzed by my doubt is to step forward in God’s direction.
I refused to stay in a place of indecision. I chose God. Faith is not the absence of doubt, but the overcoming of doubt. It is choosing God despite your hesitation.
This Easter, as you celebrate the Resurrection, remember Thomas, the doubting disciple. God used Thomas to bring the message of Christianity to India.
Thomas changed the world, but his story began with doubt. You may sometimes doubt, but like Thomas, your doubt can turn into overcoming faith. Will you choose God?
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today