Shadow of a Doubt

Money back guarantee…

People always want guarantees. Money back guarantee, 30 day guarantee, satisfaction guaranteed, and such. This is helpful when we want to buy a product. We have the extra assurance that we can return this thing, this item, if it doesn’t meet our expectations. If it’s broken or of defective quality or just turns out to not be what we were hoping for. It’s a nice reassurance that we won’t be stuck with it for life. We can return it and get back what we had invested in it.

However, SO MANY things in life are not returnable. There is no money back guarantee, no reassurance, no satisfaction guarantee on the most important and most rewarding things in life. There are no return instructions for children. You can’t just mail them back if you change your mind after 13 years (though many parents wish they could trade them in during the teenage years). There is no return on your investment of time, love and energy if an intimate relationship turns sour and falls apart. You can’t eBay order a new, improved career and get back the 30 years you spent in the old one that is no longer satisfying you.

What does this say about life….

We want our lives to be fail-proof. We want assurance that at the end of the day and at the end of our lives we win. We want assurance that we will never look-the-fool or have to wait to be satisfied or have to experience anything but pleasure all the time. The undertone message of this longing for a guarantee is, “I just want security and wealth. I don’t want to take a chance ever again. I don’t want to be put in the position where I have to have faith. I want to know everything is going to be okay, for sure, always. Or I want my money back.”

But life throws us curve balls and we don’t get to be in control. With no money back guarantees in the most important things of life, can we believe, can we hope, can we have faith?

From where does our Security come….

Some people trust in their security systems. Some people trust that their cell-phone will always be there for them. Some people trust in their firearms and knives. A lot of people trust in their own wit and logic to protect them.  Some people trust in other people.

What do you rely on and trust in?

Beyond a shadow of a doubt…

“Beyond a shadow of a doubt…”  Can anything be believed beyond a shadow of a doubt? Will doubt always be a part of our lives? Can anything be believed “for sure”?

Some people, like me, trust in an invisible God.  Why would we do something as ridiculous as that? Don’t we need 100% certainty to believe? Seeing is believing, right?

Child-like faith….

God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, the three-in-one trinity are all invisible, and yet the reassurance that all is well, the safety, security and provision He offers is more real than any firearm, more safe than any safety plan, more successful than any success plan.

What does child-like faith look like?

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

The only thing that God requires of us is that we believe. He doesn’t ask us to know. He just asks us to believe. God’s okay with a shadow of a doubt existing.  Faith can’t exist without the shadow of doubt being present. In the midst of an atmosphere full of doubt, is where faith becomes faith.

Do you believe in the invisible God? Or would you rather look for a tangible solution? A carnal, tangible, earth-realm based explanation.

Sometimes we look for evidence out of curiosity. Like the documentary attempting to verify if David could really have killed Goliath. The documentary makers brought the #1 award-winning voladero (A voladero slings stones from a leather sling. It’s an ancient weapon.) from Argentina to the Kidron Valley. They had him pick out smooth stones from the Kidron Valley ground, put them in his sling and take potshots at an impact measuring device atop a 9-foot tall rod. They wanted to measure if a human being could throw a stone hard enough to kill a nine-foot tall Goliath. After numerous tries, the professional, award-winning voladero hit the mark, the apparatus measured the impact. CONFIRMED. Yes, a human being could sling a stone fast enough and hard enough to deliver an impact to a skull so as to kill a person 9-feet tall!! It could happen! But at the end, the shadow of the doubt is cast, something like this, “But oh, what are the chances that it did on the first throw?” Someone who wants to doubt could easily dismiss this evidence, the proof trial. Likewise, someone who wants to believe, will believe.

Child-like faith looks at it very simply. It’s a miracle. It did happen as the Bible accounts. Not because David is an expert slinger of smooth stones in the Kidron Valley, but because God is a miracle working God.  It is real yet, God in his infinite wisdom decided on purpose to leave the option of doubt, to leave a shadow of a doubt, ON PURPOSE!! Why? Quite obviously so that some people (you and I) have the opportunity to choose to not believe (in the Truth). There is power in being able to choose. God grated us that power. Before and after The Choice of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, there has always been and will always be a shadow of a doubt. It’s a little crack in the door left open just in case you would like to choose not to believe. You and I have that freedom.

Or maybe consider this one guy, who walked the earth, professing to be the Son of God and a son of man (human) at the same time. (Yeah, I’m talking about Jesus.)  The full son of both sides. Fully God and fully man. He did miracles!  Setting people free from demonic oppression, giving sight to blind people, opening the ears of the deaf, making the lame to walk again. Yet, one thing He did NOT do, He never liberated His blood brothers from the political oppression they were under. Israel was an occupied country and the Messiah was SUPPOSED TO come and liberate them! Or so they thought.

However, Jesus was on Earth for 33 years for a specific purpose. He proclaimed, “The Kingdom of God is here!” And when He was asked, “Are you a King?” He replied, “My Kingdom is not of this World.” He would not be manipulated to fit into other people’s boxes. He didn’t live to fulfill the expectations of others.  Instead He said, Matthew 12:50 “Anyone who does the will of my Father in Heaven is my brother and my sister and my mother.”  Jesus wasn’t tied to biological loyalties. He was looking for faith. He didn’t go around saying who He was: the Son of God, the Messiah. Instead He walked around asking,  “Who do you say that I am?”  He didn’t tell people directly. He let them put the pieces together… or not. Whichever they chose. In other words, He required faith, but He allowed people to choose to not have faith.  Faith is not believing in the vacuum of a perfect happy world where there is never a hint of an opportunity to doubt. It’s choosing to believe even in the face of a messy reality full of shadows of doubt. That’s where faith becomes real.

The freedom to not believe…

It takes a very secure God to permit His people to reject Him. He’s not an egotistical God who needs His praises to ring to keep Him built up. He doesn’t need to be everyone’s friend. As some people say, “He’s God all by Himself.” We are the ones who benefit from believing. We get the reassurance that all is well, that things will be taken care of and that we will be taken care of, regardless of the circumstances.

Scriptures on the Power of Believing….

Mark 9:23 “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

John 1:12 “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”

John 3:18 “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

John 20:31  “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved – you and your household.”

Are you looking for a life lived beyond a shadow of a doubt? I would challenge you to think differently. God has allowed doubt for a reason. The simple existence of doubt makes our belief stronger. The fact we have the option to choose, makes our choosing even more precious, even more valuable. The shadow of a doubt is not to be feared. When we choose to believe, that is, when we choose faith, the shadow of a doubt becomes irrelevant. We don’t even notice it anymore. Our choice is even stronger because of having the option to doubt. We are stronger because of having a choice. God allows it to be this way on purpose. The fact that we could choose otherwise makes our belief real. When we have faith, shadows of doubt are overtaken by the light of our faith. Our Lives become eliminated because our faith makes place for the Light of the world, Jesus. We don’t need money-back guarantees. We know God has got our back.