I heard about a family who claimed they didn’t believe in God. The parents had taught the children all about the reasons for being atheists.
One day the little boy asked his father, “Dad, do you think God knows we don’t believe in him?”
Even without any formal religious training, many people have realized the importance of believing in God. Jesus taught his disciples that there’s a special blessing in the life of everyone who believes.
After Jesus was resurrected, he had a bit of trouble convincing some that he was really raised from the dead. We especially remember “Doubting Thomas” who said he wouldn’t believe it was really Jesus unless he felt the wounds for himself. Many people identify with the doubts of Thomas and may miss the best part. Jesus said to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
There is a special blessing to those who believe. I don’t think Jesus was talking about the smugly self-righteous who seem to be out of touch with the world. Jesus was talking about people who have struggled with their doubts and with careful thought have decided to make a commitment to trust in the care and provision of God.
Blessed are the believers. Many would claim they are healthier and happier because of their faith. I would rather try to relate to and work with a believer than the doubters and cynics of the world. It’s believers who move the world forward in a positive way. There is power in believing; more power than the unbeliever will ever know.
Of course, we still have our doubts; everyone does. We wonder sometimes why God doesn’t reveal himself more clearly. It’s hard to explain the way God works in the world. It’s even harder to explain a world without God.
This is just what happened, according to a Time magazine report when former Prime Minister Gorbachev visited the United Nations some years ago. Before he spoke to the General Assembly, Gorbachev met with then U.N. Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar. When Perez de Cuellar thanked Gorbachev for the Soviets’ recent support for U.N. peacekeeping efforts, Gorbachev answered, “God is on your side at the United Nations.”
After a short pause, he rephrased his statement in a more orthodox Marxist fashion: “The objective trends of what is happening in history are on your side.”
I think Prime Minister Gorbachev was right the first time.
Prayer: Our Lord, help us to honestly be able to doubt our doubts and believe our beliefs. Amen.
The Rev. Dan Safarik retired as a full-time pastor at St. Luke Methodist Church in Lincoln and now serves part time at St. Mark’s UMC in Lincoln. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rev. Dan Safarik serves St. Luke United Methodist Church in Lincoln. Email him at email@example.com