This past Sunday the sermon at the church I attended started with some audience-response questions.  The pastor said, “I will say a word and then you respond with the opposite.”  Then he said, “Heavy” and we all said, “Light.”  He said, “Morning” and we said, “Night.”  After a few more times where we were all in sync he said, “Believe” and I (and a few others) said, “Doubt”.  Then, just as I was catching myself in my mistake, he called us out on it.  The opposite of believe is not doubt, but rather unbelief (or non-belief).

The primary illustration for the day was our friend and our Lord’s apostle, Thomas – affectionately (?) known as “Doubting Thomas”.  The preacher reminded us, though, that Thomas may not be the best illustration of a doubter from the Bible.  He then told familiar stories about Abraham, Jacob, John, and Peter.  Interesting, isn’t it?  We never refer to the first of the Patriarchs as “Doubting Abraham” – yet his doubts were more frequently recorded than those of Thomas!  And what about John the Baptizer in prison?

Many years ago, with my tongue in my cheek, I suggested that Saint Thomas Lutheran should make their mission statement to read “Doubters No More”.  I (seriously) thought  that a little more boldness and courage … confidence in the Lord to take a few more risks, especially in the areas of outreach and community service … would have been very healthy for us as a congregation.  The congregation chose a different mission statement (Connecting Individuals to Jesus – educating minds, growing faith, serving people) that better served the same purpose.

More importantly, I now realize that my suggestion may well have been a lie!  A more truthful statement would be “Unbelievers No More!”  Getting back to where we started today, to have doubts does not mean that we have no faith.  In other words, in many ways, doubters we remain.

The good news is faith, even mixed with doubts, saves us.  You know the passage.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2.8-9)  If we are saved by faith, and faith is a gift of God, then even our doubts cannot undermine his works.  Consider the words of Jesus, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17.20-21) and ask yourself, “How much room for doubt is there in faith the size of a mustard seed?”

Please do not get me wrong.  Doubt is sin, and sin separates us from God.  However, I doubt that doubt is the sin against the Holy Spirit.  That sin is known as unbelief – the rejection of Christ and his gospel.  Therefore, doubt comes under the category of sins forgiven and covered through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for all those who have been given faith in him. And faith, we are told, “is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the people of old received their commendation.  By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11.1-3)

I was excited about the prospects of the Tigers as they came out of spring training.  Then the season started, and they looked just like last year’s version, or worse.  My doubts immediately became huge.  Then the principles that they had been talking about all winter started to be seen on the field.  Coming into today’s off day they have won five out of six, and my doubts are fading.  They may not be World Series worthy, but competitive I expect they will be all season long.  In other words, in this regard, I am a Doubter No More!

God’s Word to us, from day one, has been and remains simply, “Trust me.”  This is really what Easter is all about.  The God who says, “Trust me,” is trustworthy.  And so, he comes to us again today with the same simple phrase, “Trust me.”

But how can we trust HIM when we face so many challenging dilemmas and dangers?  Shootings and wars … drugs and politicians … liars and rumors … financial issues and evil people … parenting and retirement …  The lists go on and on and on.  There are so many voices yelling in our ears!

Here is my suggestion – and I assure you that it has been working for me for a lifetime – LISTEN consistently to THE voice of TRUTH … the Word of God.  I have been reading it … listening to it … discussing it … praying about it … worshiping with it … daily / weekly / regularly … throughout my life.  And it is the primary force that has formed me to be who I am (and for some reason, if you are reading this, you just might value to some degree what I have to say).

Jesus says it this way: “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4.13-14)  Thursday’s Thirst is offered as a weekly sip of that life-enriching water that lessens our doubts and fears.  However, in order for something to “well up” it takes more than an occasional sip (but you knew this already).

Ever wonder why angelic greetings always begin with, “Fear not”?  It is the very voice of God coming to alleviate our fears and to strengthen our responses to the evils around.  The same voice that is coming to you and me this day to make us – and the world around us – doubters no more.

Doubters No More