Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 15) Doubt … March 13th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

Somewhere between faith and unbelief lies doubt.

As faith is promoted as a God-pleasing virtue and unbelief is denied by those who are fearful of coming across calloused, doubt is universally regarded as a negative. Yet doubt is the most prevalent sensation that inhabits the human heart.

Yesterday, former First Lady Nancy Reagan was laid to rest next to her husband, Ronald. When asked, the most common response given by the surrounding mourners was, “At least Nancy is where she wants to be–with her beloved Ronald.”

No one knows that to be true.

No one is certain of any factor that occurs after human life has ceased. Our information is not even anecdotal.

It is based solely on faith–or a deep, abiding worry that we will be considered unbelievers if we don’t say something hopeful.

Actually, we all doubt.

So the correct way of addressing the issue should be, “I do think it would be Nancy’s hope to finally be back together with Ronald.”

That’s factual.

That comes from a place of uncertainty that keeps us searching, and also humble.

Jesus, himself, had doubts.

There were moments when he spoke to the crowds with great faith, saying, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

But time would pass, rejection would come his way, and in unbelief, he would turn to the multitudes who were leaving him because of his teachings, sigh, and ask his disciples if they were going to go away also.

Yet he would then land in the middle of doubt, where the balance of his hope and the tentative nature of his mortality could mingle, and he spoke in great mercy: they’re human. “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

Even as he was hanging on the cross, he shared with great faith, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” But only moments later, he cried out in an agony of unbelief, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

But realizing that only his death would reveal ultimate truth, with his doubts intact, he cast his eyes to the heavens and said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

Doubt is a powerful emotion:

  • It lets people know that we have hopes that we cannot prove.
  • It informs those around us that we still keep pursuing even though the present moment offers no reinforcement to our contention.

Without honoring doubt, we give up too soon, we divorce too early, we despair too often, and we abandon frequently.

Doubt is where our miracle begins.

It is when we continue to believe without being sure.

It is Jesus who shouted in faith, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son,” only to be cast aside by his brethren and to bitterly tell them “not to weep for him, but for their own children and themselves.”

Not positive, not negative, but with a certain amount of doubt, he finally landed on the balance:

“Whosoever will may come.”

Doubt is where faith continues its work–to avoid the emptiness of unbelief.

 

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Poor Coverage … August 9, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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For two-and-a-half years I shared and ministered with the poor, disenfranchised and homeless folks in Shreveport, Louisiana.

I would not trade that experience for any amount of gold or prestige. Yet I have to tell you that even though it was peppered with great blessing, it was also salted with revelation and discovery.

I learned first-hand what Jesus meant when he said that “the poor you have with you always.”

It never stops. A bag of groceries does not alleviate aching hunger. Paying an electric bill fattens the purse of the local utility, but frustrates the recipients, who realize that next month they will find themselves in the same predicament.

There is a misrepresentation about spirituality–that those who pursue deeper understanding of the heart of God are meant to be propagators of generosity to the destitute. Why the misconception? Because it sounds good.

I observed it last night during my visit to a church in Michigan. These wonderful congregants had put together a system of providing paper goods and needful supplies to members of their community suffering under the rigors of financial depression. I watched as the people came in to receive their bag of goodies and observed as they departed. There was no joy, no sense of appreciation, no discovery of a deep truth etching its way across their features. They were resigned. Or maybe they HAD resigned. I don’t know which one.

But even though they possessed goods which they did not previously count in their storehouses, the realization that it was a “temporary fix” burdened their souls.

Discussing poverty is probably one of the most difficult subjects to broach. You will find yourself becoming either encompassed with the festering futility of the ongoing epidemic, or trying to distance yourself–coming across as a calloused, uncaring goofball.

What SHOULD be our position?

Jesus said they’re not going to go away, so you should “do what you can.”

I think that’s what the generous folks WERE accomplishing at last night’s church. But simultaneously, I must alert them that Jesus fed the five thousand … until he discovered they were following him JUST for the food.

  • Jesus healed the lepers but never visited a leper colony. He instead required that these diseased souls track him down and bring their faith.
  • And Jesus, when confronted by Judas about being uncaring toward the poor by wasting ointment on his head and feet, replied that Judas was out of the flow and didn’t realize that there are more important things than a temporary band-aid on a gaping wound.

What DID Jesus do?

1.  He energized the working class and the rich to appreciate what they had and realize that more of them was required.

2.  He kept his ears open to those who broke out of the pack of self-pity and made their way to his side for transformation.

3. He taught people how to be industrious instead of dependent on luck or divine intervention for their provision, telling them that they were “the salt of the earth” and that  “the Kingdom of God was within them.”

4. And in more than one parable, he told them that seed needed to be sown even when it seemed like there was no possibility for it to take root.

I learned during my two-and-a-half years that caring for the poor is something that has to be done in stride rather than being an actual walk in and of itself. And ultimately, the best way to solve poverty is to take the ten per cent who are ready to pursue personal and financial excellence and ask them to look out for the needs … of nine of their neighbors.

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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