Crossroads: I Doubt It

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John 20:19-31

My Story

When I was a child, we always played a game called “I doubt it” when we went on vacation. It was a card game and the point was to be the person who got rid of all of their cards first. But the trick was that you had to get rid of the cards in order. For instance, the first person starts by putting aces face down in a pile. You can put down anywhere from one to four cards at a time (more than four and people know you aren’t telling the truth). Let’s say you say you are putting down three aces, but you only have one. You don’t have to actually have three aces to say that you are putting down three aces. Any player may say “I doubt it!” whenever someone puts down cards. Those cards are then turned over; if the player was telling the truth, then the doubter has to take the whole stack of cards. If, however, the player didn’t actually put down three aces, then he/she has to take the whole stack of cards. This continues until one player is out of cards. You have to go in sequential order though (aces, twos, threes, etc). This game teaches about number sequencing, but it also taught us how to read people and to not always take things at face value. Like in the game, there are times when things seem too outlandish or ridiculous to be real. It’s in those times when we find ourselves saying, “I doubt it!”

Your Story

Do you believe everything you hear? Do you always take things at face value? Has there been a time in your life when something seemed too outlandish to be real and yet it was? Talk about this with your family. If there hasn’t been, you can share my story or talk about a time when you doubted something and that something turned out to be false.

The Bible Story

Read the story of doubting Thomas in John 20:19-31. Here it is from the NIV: “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit, If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’ Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘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 it.’ 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.’ Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Thomas gets a bad rap. He’s the only one of the disciples who didn’t see Jesus when he first arose. And when the other disciples told him about Jesus, he could only scoff and say that he wouldn’t believe unless he saw Jesus and his wounds for himself. For Thomas, and most of us if we’re honest, the idea of resurrection is an outlandish one. This had never happened to anyone before, and Thomas probably felt like the other disciples had lost it, that they had just seen someone who looked similar to Jesus. But Jesus understood. And so Jesus humored Thomas and appeared before him. He allowed Thomas to see that his wounds were real and that it really was him.

There are times when it seems as if God is too good to be true. There are times when it seems as though our prayers just bounce off the ceiling. And yet, God is always there for us, waiting patiently and reminding us that He is, in fact, real. How patient God must be as we run ourselves ragged trying to figure things out. In verse 29, Jesus says, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Thomas had proof that Jesus was real and that Jesus rose from the dead. He felt the scars and he saw Jesus right in front of him. Living 2000 years later, we don’t have the chance to see Jesus in that way. And yet, Jesus calls us blessed. We are blessed because we continue to have faith and believe in the things we cannot see. We are blessed because when the doubts creep in, God’s saving love reminds us of His grace and acceptance.

Perhaps God is calling you to take a leap of faith. Trust that He is there with you. When the doubts creep in, give them over to God. Allow God’s peace to wash over you. And believe that God is always honest and always faithful.

Action and Discussion

• Ask your kids about things that have seemed too good to be true to them—were they? What happened? Did they believe anyway?
• If God is calling you to take a leap of faith, accept it this week. Take that leap. If not, take time to give God all of your doubts this week. Work on believing that He will come through with all that He has promised, even if it looks different than we thought it would.

Prayer

Ask God to help you believe in things you cannot see. Pray for God’s guidance in situations where you need to take a leap of faith. Ask God to help you trust Him.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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