When Faith Fails

Examining the scriptures, we look to the disciples of Jesus to help us understand the relationship we should have with Jesus. The most shining example of weak faith is Peter, at the time of Jesus’ trial. None of the disciples have much record of their actions during the time of Jesus death and the days his body was in the tomb. In fact, mostly they all disappeared while Jesus was going through his trial and his journey to the cross. There are two that we know the most about during this time Peter and Thomas.

We know of Thomas the doubter. Yet, I wonder how much attention has been given to John  11:16. Jesus and His disciples are having a conversation about returning to Bethany, where Lazarus has just died. It is dangerous, there. The people are riled and want to stone Jesus.

Thomas makes an effort of faithfulness. Here, we see another example of a strong faith that ends in strong doubt, at least that’s what we remember.

  1. Thomas was loyal. He didn’t think they should go back but if Jesus was going, He wouldn’t be alone, even if it meant death for Thomas. In this passage, we can see that Thomas desired to die with Jesus. So long as he was with Jesus, He had the courage to go and to keep his faith steadfast. This, then is the clue to the first point. We must be with Jesus daily, in God’s word and prayer, in order to remain Faithful. (John 6:35)Thomas, the doubter, appears after Jesus’ death. His faith having suffered in the separation. Our faith and courage will suffer, starve, if we do not spend time with Jesus every day.
  2. Mistaken identity. Thomas had identified Jesus, as the political savior of the Hebrew nation. He was sure that God’s perfect plan matched his own. This is the problem we have, when we have mistaken identity. When we try to make Jesus into what we want him to be instead of who He is, our faith will fail. Just like Thomas. Thomas failed to realize that Jesus is his friend, yet, He is here to do the will of the Father. The will of the Father doesn’t necessarily seem right to us. We, too, must realize that when we pray to Jesus and we truly make God, Lord of our life, then we must be able to accept things that don’t go our way. We must trust the word of God, His promises do not, will not fail. Our faith will fail, every time we mistake  our wants for God’s will.
  3. Pride will keep our faith in the throughs of failure. Thomas could not believe that Jesus had risen. His response was, “I won’t believe it till I see the nail prints in his hands.“ He couldn’t celebrate the resurrection of Jesus because he was wallowing in regretful doubt and misery. (John 20:25)Thomas refused to believe his friends when he hears that Jesus is alive. His pride keeps him from even entertaining the thought that this might have been the plan all along. He is busy berating himself for ever believing Jesus. But then, Thomas sees Jesus and humbly falls. He believes when he sees Jesus. The cure for failed faith is Jesus’ love and forgiveness and our willingness to acknowledge that we love Jesus and need Him, always. 

Has your faith ever failed you? Have you ever felt like God isn’t listening or he has left you? Have you ever felt that maybe you’ve been wasting your energy believing and trying to live a godly life? This is normal, it is part of growing strong faith.

Jesus said to Thomas (John 20:29), “blessed are those who have not seen, yet they believe.” Here, Jesus was telling all of his disciples that there would be many who come after who will not see him but will still believe. We are to believe what Jesus said. Even in our life, today, we will have moments when we can feel Jesus presence. We will, also, have those days when we are seeking, longing for him but feel disconnected. I think the whole story about Thomas is to help us understand that what we feel or see, is not what we should be trusting. We must trust what Jesus said. We must trust what God‘s word promises. This is the secret for unfailing faith.

These are the keys to strong faith, Know who Jesus is, Stay Close every day, Don’t let yourself get in the way.

Mickey Kyler 5/9/19

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