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John 20:24–29 ‘So the other disciples told him [Thomas], “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “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.”’ (v25)

We all have doubts facing life decisions, when the results are unknown. Doubt helps to prevent rash decisions. Thomas doubts, because a decision for Jesus has the power to turn him into an enemy of the state who’d crucified Jesus. Doubt encourages us to think things through. It refines our understanding by inviting us to ask useful questions, consider a variety of answers before making our decision. Doubt is carefully designed to lead us towards the truth. Today, we are often more comfortable embracing and voicing someone else’s truth. Single-issue platforms mean we find a camp we’re comfortable with and simply sing its song without much thought.

The worst of Christian witness is when we stop thinking and simply just start shouting slogans as truth. Often doubt is born of an anxiety that we will get something wrong. But God doesn’t abandon us for giving a ‘wrong answer’. Indeed, I’ve never learnt anything without making mistakes and getting things wrong – from cooking to theology. As a child I was dressed in hand-me-downs, which wasn’t my fashion choice! One reason I customise my clothes today. If I merely accept what others say, I lose the ability to discover truth for myself. Thomas no doubt trusted his friends, but needed to find his own way to grasp their truth. Interestingly, there is no evidence that he followed through on his demand (v25), but after a week of doubt, it was sufficient to encounter Jesus for him to declare, ‘My Lord and my God!’(v28).

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Prov. 3:1–26; Psa. 31:19–24; Matt. 14:22–33; Mark 9:14–29.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: How do you use doubt? Does it confuse you and shake your confidence? Take doubt and use it as the basis for seeking answers that help you, like Thomas did.

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, I believe but look to You to help answer all my doubts. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.