Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.
The disciples are huddled together, fearfully, in a room.
They’ve been hiding out since their teacher, Jesus, was crucified.
They’re demoralized. Disheartened. Distraught.
And full of doubt.
This is what we see in this Sunday’s Gospel reading. And then, Jesus suddenly appears before the disciples, very much alive!
He doesn’t criticize their doubt, or scold them for their faithlessness.
Instead, He addresses their doubt head on.
And heals it:
Jesus came and stood among them and said to them: “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20)
Thomas, of course, wasn’t with the rest of the disciples. And when they tell him what happened, he famously doubts.
We call him “doubting Thomas,” yet that’s incredibly unfair. He had exactly the same doubts as the rest of the disciples!
And Jesus addresses those doubts in exactly the same way: with His loving presence.
We see something similar in this Sunday’s reading from the Book of Acts, where the Church is growing in the days after Pentecost.
The Church didn’t argue its way to growth. It didn’t publish pamphlets and books, trying to convince people of who Jesus is.
Instead, the Church showed people who Jesus is.
In those days, many signs and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles. (Acts 5:12)
Notice that St Luke, who wrote the Book of Acts, doesn’t call what the apostles did “miracles.” He calls them “signs and wonders,” concrete actions which demonstrated to people that Jesus is truly our Lord and Savior.
Christians healed the sick and fed the poor. They cast out demons and even raised the dead!
Just as Jesus demonstrates His love for the disciples by showing them His hands, pierced by nails, His disciples show the world that the Lord is real in the way they act:
With holiness, full of the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Want to learn more about how the Church can deal with doubt?
May our loving Lord help you face your doubts and lead you to ever-deepening faith.
P.S. So many young adults deal with doubts (and we haven’t done the best job addressing that). That’s why we are Y2AM have been talking to young adults as part of our new podcast, We Are Orthodoxy. And in this talk, Christian summarizes the 3 things we’ve learned about young adult ministry (so far). You need to listen to it.