Take a moment to connect with other members of our community. Host Odalis Turincio will share her thoughts on faith in 2020 and how we can grow closer to God.
Good morning. Welcome to Faith Moments. I’m Odalis. Faith Moments is a space for us to talk, explore faith, listen for God, and just see what He might already be speaking into our lives. I’m grateful that I get to share this time here together. Today, we’ll just take a few minutes to talk. If you have a Bible anywhere around or your phone, be sure to grab it so we can turn to the scriptures together. I would love to pray to welcome in the Lord before we get started. Let’s pray.
Father, we thank you for this morning. I thank you for this day, for the sun shining outside. God, how refreshing it is to start the day talking about you, thinking about you, and listening for your voice. So spirit, would you come to meet my friends on the other side of the screen, speak your life and your love over them? Would you use this time that we have together to breathe your love really over each of us? We thank you again for this time, Jesus. We pray these things in your name. Amen.
What I want to share today are my morning devotions that I was inspired by. As much as I possibly can, I try to start every day reading at least a little bit of the word. I miss days sometimes, but I try to just start with that good habit to get some intake of the word. To fill my own cup before I talk to anybody else. I also need coffee to start the day. I try to pair the two together. Then I usually end up not missing either. Back to my devotions, to what I was reading. I just started a Bible study that’s taking us through different men and women from the New Testament. We look at who they are, at who Jesus revealed them to be for us, and how God worked in their different stories. What struck me in the passage I was reading was kind of interesting and I hope that you find it interesting and helpful as well.
We started this Bible study by looking at who we should start with, which is Jesus. In this passage, it wasn’t actually Jesus specifically that struck me, but the disciples as He was interacting with them. Roll with me. Let’s turn together. If you have a Bible handy to Matthew 28. In this portion of scripture, Jesus has gone to the cross. He died and rose. Some of the women who were in His crew had been to the tomb. They saw it was empty. As they’re running back to find the disciples to tell them they meet Jesus on the road. Jesus tells them, hey, tell my disciples to meet me in Galilee.
So we pick up in Matthew 28:16, it says, “then the 11 disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.” When they saw Him, Him being Jesus, they worshiped him. But some doubted. It might just be me. I hope it’s not just me, but this little section just wowed me. These men, these disciples had walked with Jesus for three years. They had seen Him heal. They saw Him speak into people’s hearts, things He couldn’t have known if He weren’t God. They had endless conversations with Him. Intimate moments of friendship, of following Him, of discipleship. At the end of the gospel of John, He puts in this final little word saying, oh, if books were written, detailing everything He had done well, the world couldn’t hold how many books there would be.
There’s so much already that we get in the scriptures and so much more than these disciples saw that only they know. They and the Lord know. Yet these men who had seen and experienced so much with Jesus, upon seeing the risen Jesus, there was still doubt in their hearts. It sounds odd, but I find this so encouraging. Let me explain. I hope you do too. For me, I have doubt in my heart. I think it’s probably a natural part of just a faith journey. It has been a real key part of mine.
It’s not the doubt any more than wondering if Jesus is who He says He is. I don’t doubt my place in His kingdom. The doubt changes over the years, but really all doubt is, is this questioning. It’s this wondering. It’s this asking natural questions about the things that bother, disturb our hearts, and keep us up at night. For me, it’s been wondering about my place, about my worth. Wondering if a God who says He’s a healer can actually heal the most broken places. If a God who is good can actually explain the deepest pains that I’ve experienced.
Over time, over the years, waiting, hearing, and inviting Him in to see, well, can you actually answer these questions? Doubt and faith are actually in what I’ve experienced. They’re not incompatible at all. I think they actually work together and have, for me, to teach me more about Jesus. These disciples, talk about faith, they left everything to follow Jesus. Yet they still had doubt in their hearts. Seeing Him in the fulfillment of what He promised He would do all along the way. Something that totally blew their expectations out of the water. They had doubts. They had questions. They wondered, am I really seeing what I’m seeing? Is this really happening? If we keep reading, we look at what Jesus says despite their doubt. Verse 18. “Then Jesus came to them and said, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” Jesus was not surprised by their doubt. Jesus was not caught off guard by their doubt. He wasn’t offended by their doubt. He didn’t disqualify them in their doubt.
Jesus understood it. He said I saw them where they’re at. It wasn’t even remotely close to the first time that He experienced people along the way who doubted. One of my favorite stories is in Mark 9 I think, with the father whose child is deathly ill. He’s asking Jesus for help. He just cries out, I believe, but help my unbelief. That cry resonates so deeply in my heart because I believe, but help my unbelief. Help me. Here’s where this reminder is so important because Jesus sees their doubt and still welcomes them into partnership with Him. He still invites them into a life fully lived and says, He’ll be with them. Jesus says these same things to us today. My encouragement in this faith moment is not to ditch your doubt. It’s not, “get over it at all because I’ve tried saying those things to myself.” It just doesn’t go anywhere because we are who we are. God doesn’t leave us where we’re at. He’s with us all along the way.
My encouragement is for the areas of doubt in your own heart, the areas where you have questions. Maybe you’ve had these questions your whole life. Maybe they’re ones that have sprung up because of more recent circumstances. Just bring it to God. He is not ashamed of our doubt. He’s not offended by it. He’s not surprised by it. In fact, He already knows it’s there. I’m not saying God gives us the answers on this side of eternity. I have deeply resonating questions that I won’t have the answers to. That’s okay because Jesus has still invited us into partnership with Him. Jesus says He will be with us in the questioning and in the answering, in the wondering and in the knowing. So let’s bring our questions to God. Let’s be real with our doubt. Let’s just be more real with Him every day.
We have a God who loves us, who is with us, and who works with us. At the end of the day, what Jesus wants is our hearts. If you’re all right, let’s pray together. You and me, let’s pray. Let’s invite God into those questioning places. Again, we might not get the answers on this side, but what we do have is a friend who’s with us and teaches us more along the way.
Father, I thank you for this time. I thank you for the questions. In an odd way, I thank you that you help us to register the areas of doubt that we have not to necessarily be stuck in them, but I thank you for them because of the way that they draw us deeper into you when we bring them to you. With the openness that we have in us, we bring our questions before you. We bring these areas of wondering, hoping, pain, and of just questions. We ask for you to meet us in them. We ask you to provide opportunities to hear more of you in them. Lord, for patients, for the questions that are longer in answering. God, I thank you that you take doubters like your disciples and us, and you say, “here’s who I am. Here’s how I’m inviting you into a life live deeper with me. And I will be with you.” Jesus, we thank you for that promise. Help us in our places of questioning. Help us because we believe. We need your help in our unbelief. We love you, Jesus. I thank you for this time. I pray for your blessing over everyone who’s watching. We pray these things in your name. Amen. Thank you so much for joining. It has been my privilege to share with you. I look forward to doing this more often. God bless you and we’ll see you next time.