Have you ever thought about who God is? Like, really taken a few moments to think about the creator of the universe? God is beyond our understanding, and it can make our heads hurt a little bit to really think about it. It can be hard to put our belief and trust in a God we can’t quite wrap our heads around. Many of us like to see the proof before we are willing to put our full trust in something.
This is where faith comes in. As we begin to unpack what it means to be a fully devoted follower of Christ, we must begin with open hearts and minds, and a willingness to come face-to-face with a God who is beyond our comprehension. It is our prayer that you would grow, not just in head knowledge or information, but in faith.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (Hebrews 11:1-3)
Today’s reading in John 20 gives us a glimpse of the faith journey of Jesus’ disciples. We find them hiding in a locked room, confused and afraid for their lives. Their trusted leader had been killed and buried and it would seem that their hopes and dreams had been buried with him. Should they just return to their old lives? Would the people who killed Jesus come for them? But the story doesn’t end there. Not too long after, many of the disciples encountered the risen Jesus and the fear that had filled them was replaced with joy. Jesus was alive!
The excited disciples share this astounding news with another one of the disciples, Thomas. They exclaim, “we have seen the risen Lord!” (vs. 25) However, Thomas isn’t so sure. He responds by saying, “unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my fingers where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Like many of us, Thomas is filled with doubt and questions about things he couldn’t comprehend or see with his eyes. How could the person he just saw buried in a tomb be alive again?
A little later in the account, Jesus appears personally to Thomas and allows him to touch the very wounds Thomas said he needed as proof. It’s amazing because Jesus doesn’t meet Thomas’ doubt or questions with anger or disapproval. Instead, Jesus is gentle and allows Thomas’ doubt to be a place where faith can grow. This gives us a glimpse into who God is and what a relationship looks like with Him. We can come as we are, and He will meet us with grace.
It is not a sin to have doubts or questions. Having a hard time believing something or asking questions doesn’t even mean you lack faith. In fact, like Thomas, this is actually a great place for our faith to grow. As we GROW our faith, we begin to trust a God who is beyond our comprehension through honest questions and dialogue within our groups.
Everyone has different life experiences and faith journeys that have led them to this point in their lives. Whether you are a seasoned Christian or just checking things out or somewhere in between, our hope is that you would open your heart to deepen your faith, ask the hard questions and challenge yourself to grow as you learn about the five rhythms of GROW.
How would you describe God with your knowledge of him today?
Write down some of your doubts about who God is.
What is something that you hope by faith to get out of this study?