Sunday, June 2, 2013

Having Just A Little Doubt?

In Mark 8 we read that Jesus feeds the 4,000. Can you imagine? Seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. Um, have you ever been preparing dinner and the kids bring home four friends and the neighbors pop in? Now you find yourself trying to scrape together everything in the pantry all the while your trying hard not to panic. There was no panic in Jesus. Through this we can find hope. He will always provide a way. He always opens the door. We must believe. Our faith must be in practice.

After He feeds all these people, which could fill a small stadium, the Pharisees were not in the least bit happy. They were trying to trap Jesus while He was feeding hungry people. Jesus cannot be trapped. He knows His Father is in total control. "Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. But He sighed deeply in His Spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation." Mark 8:11-12

Okay, now I could jump all over the Pharisees and say, "Can you believe these people? Jesus just fed 4,000 and they need a sign after that miracle?" Well yeah. I cannot count the times I have asked Jesus for a sign. "Just show me, Lord. Show me something." The disciples had a bit of a memory problem too. After this they all loaded up in the boat to travel to the other side. That forgetful bunch only had one loaf of bread. Now, they are freaking out. They are hungry and they are wondering how one loaf is going to feed them all. Hello, isn't Jesus with them? Did they just not see what He did with the 4,000?

Isn't that like us though? We are in awe when Jesus does something, but soon forget. Soon doubt travels into our pea brains and we are asking for another sign. Just because we don't see Jesus doing something doesn't mean He isn't doing something. I have found most of the time He is silent to me is when He is doing a wondrous work in my heart. It's about that time I'm about to witness something huge take place. Doubt can be our worst enemy. If we doubt God we are sure enough going to doubt others and ourselves. It's like an annoying summer cold that spreads and makes us feel horrible.

"But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, "Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up? They said to Him, "Twelve." Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?" And they said, "Seven." So He said to them, "How is it that you do not understand?" Mark 8:17-21

Jesus has proven Himself again and again to me. When I have doubted, He has strengthened my faith. When I have asked, my growth has increased. I am learning that Jesus is always there. He isn't going to let me down and friends, we don't have to see a sign to know that He is here. Remember the sigh? In verse 12 Jesus sighs. I find this so reassuring and so comforting. May we never forget, although Jesus was all God, He too was all man. He was touched by what He saw around Him. He hurts when we hurt. He feels pain and heartache. He is a compassionate God.

Think about your life. How many people depend on you? I'm sure, just like me, your life seems out of control and you find yourself alone and you let out a sigh. Nothing in my life, no stress level, nothing compares to the life Jesus led on earth. Can you imagine the load He carried? Can you see the throngs of people surrounding Him day and night, wanting something, healing, food, just one touch? He was being pulled in every direction. And here even His disciples, His friends, were doubting in fear of where their next meal would come from. Didn't they know if Jesus provided for others, He too would provide for them?

But this isn't His first sigh. Not at all. In Mark 7:31-37 we read that Jesus sighed. Jesus is traveling everywhere. He is meeting people where they are. Right there in the midst of their mess, He finds them and brings healing. Here Jesus heals the deaf/mute in Decapolis. They begged Jesus to put His hand on Him. I love this! Jesus knowing this man cannot hear Him nor speak, sends him a message through gestures that He can understand. Isn't that the coolest? This man wasn't doubting. Jesus had met him where he was and brings healing. He places His fingers in his ears and He spat on touched his tongue. Now Jesus sighs! "Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha", that is, "Be opened." (vs 34) Why did Jesus sigh here? Could it be that He felt what this man had gone through his whole life? Could it be that just maybe Jesus had compassion and knew this was not how it was suppose to be?

After this the people were astonished (vs. 37). So, why are we still not astonished today? Why do we have such a hard time believing? These people had Jesus walking among them and they still struggled. Sure, we can ponder that and say, "How could they not believe?" But what about us, today in right now? Why is it so hard for us to believe?

We always hear about doubting Thomas, but he wasn't the only doubting disciple. In Mark 16 after Jesus was resurrected, He appeared to Mary Magdalene, and she went out and told the others He was alive. They didn't believe her. Later when He appeared to two disciples and they went and told the rest and you know what? They didn't believe. "Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they ,mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either." Mark 16:9-13 After this we see that Jesus rebuked their unbelief.

Friends, are you finding yourself doubting today? Finding it hard to believe with the circumstances surrounding you? You are not the first one to doubt and you won't be the last. Jesus understands us. We are His children. Sure, I can imagine Him shaking His head at me sometimes, but more often than that I see a Father with love. A Father who wants to have a relationship with me. We can believe in His Word. We can have faith in His promises. Don't allow your doubts to stay too long. When you find yourself doubting seek out Jesus. When you find yourself questioning what is going on in your life, search the Word and pray. Cry out to Jesus and share with Him all that is on your heart, then quiet yourself and allow Him time to show you that He is our Forever Faithful Savior.
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