“WHY are you FRIGHTENED?” he [Jesus] asked. “WHY are your HEARTS
filled with DOUBT?” Luke 24:38 (NLT, emphasis mine)
He asks, therefore He cares! That is the first thing that struck me when I read this verse…Jesus asks…He inquires into the lives and emotions of His disciples.
He then really answers His first question for them…He KNOWS that they appear frightened because they doubt the physical reality of His resurrected body. The fact that they didn’t answer, but that Jesus then asks about their doubt, demonstrates His omniscience…He knows our every thought. WOW! So, all these doubts and fears that I have…everything that is preventing me from moving forward…HE ALREADY KNOWS! I also noticed that Jesus doesn’t ask why their heads are filled with doubt, or their brains or mind…He asks, “Why are your HEARTS filled with doubt?” The heart is known as the center and seat of spiritual life. It is the “seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors.” (blueletterbible). It is an EMOTIONAL response that needs addressed, not just a fleeting thought.
An expression came to mind when I read this verse in context and saw that the disciples thought Jesus was a spirit appearing before them (vv37). How often have we heard the term, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost!” I started to think about what causes a person to say that. The person they are saying it to normally looks shocked, often speechless, frozen to the spot, maybe gone pale…they STOP in their tracks. The doubt, the disbelief, the fear…it puts the brakes on our emotions, and prevents us from moving forward.
If even the disciples can doubt when the living, breathing Jesus, whom they have walked with and should recognize, stands before them…surely I can’t expect to be any different. Jesus had spent time on three separate occasions foretelling of His death and resurrection (Luke 9:21-22, 43-45; 18:31-34). Luke states that they didn’t fully understand at this time, as the true meaning was hidden from them.
Life is like that for us…we catch a small glimpse, hear a word from the Lord, feel a calling on our lives…we are told of so much pain and suffering…we experience that pain and suffering ourselves, but we cannot grasp the full meaning of who, where, what, when, how…why? We fear. Perhaps we won’t fully understand until, like the disciples, we meet Jesus face to face.
What we can take from this verse however, is that Jesus cares. He is listening. He wants us to pour out to Him all that is in our hearts, and reasons for our doubt, and turn to Scripture, just like He took His disciples to Scripture to reassure them. He does not want us to fear and be frozen in our doubts and insecurities. Sometimes I wonder: “Why talk to the Lord about it if He already knows?” But here’s the thing…He knew the disciples hearts, but He still wanted to dialogue with them about it. He didn’t want to leave them in a state of doubt and confusion, frozen by their emotions, He wanted to explain the truth to them, and for them to understand. Likewise, He wants us to come to Him to receive His Word of reassurance so that we can move forward and be all that He purposed us to be. He wants to use His Word to guide our thoughts and direct us and turn the darkness created by the shadow of our doubts, back into the light (Ps. 119:105, John. 1:5).
At House Mountain Baptist Church, Corryton TN, on Oct. 27th, Pastor Mark Hammond was continuing his series of Scripture being a ‘Road Map for Life’. His sermon was addressing anger; however, the take home message I received in light of this study, I applied to doubt. He said that unresolved anger (doubt) is like never getting the oil changed in your car…it might still run okay in the short term, however, it will be costly long-term and possibly have devastating effects. That is us…unresolved doubt in our lives might not cause too much of a problem in the short term, but long-term, it will infiltrate and poison our hearts and prevent us from #movingforward and being the well-oiled vessel that He created us to be.
A saying my husband was once told was that: “The two greatest things keeping someone from ministry are discouragement and pride.” I believe this is true, not only for ministry, but also in keeping us from complete and utter abandonment of ourselves, and communion with Christ. As Renee Swope states, in A Confident Heart; “God’s plans for us are found when we surrender ours and seek His each day.” (p81). Scripture states that we will find the Lord when we seek Him with ALL our heart (Jer. 29:13). It is not possible to fully seek the Lord when part of our heart is crippled by pain of the past.
Renee encourages us: “Ask God to show you the broken places in your past you have carried into your future.” (ACH, p79). Discouragement is my main hurdle, caused by the pain of rejection in my life that I have experienced. The repeating pattern of my life for a long time was…I trust…I get hurt…I trust…I get rejected…I invest time…I get rejected. However, if I focus on placing that trust and time in the Lord…He will NOT REJECT me! I have spent countless hours pursuing security and acceptance from the things of this world, which has not only caused this rejection, but also caused me to make numerous decisions that I am neither proud of, nor ever care to admit. God wants me to “deal with my past…not dwell in the past” (ACH, p77), so that it will not determine my future. That is for a different blog!
God’s unfailing love will never reject me no matter what is in my past. His unfailing love wants to lift me up out of the ashes and rebuild, restore me, and renew me (Isa. 61:4) so that I can soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, and walk and not be faint (Isa. 40:31).
When the mountains fall
And the tempest roars You are with me
When creation folds
Still my soul will soar on Your mercy
I’ll walk through the fire
With my head lifted high
And my spirit revived in Your story
And I’ll look to the cross
As my failure is lost
In the light of Your glorious grace
Let the ruins come to life
In the beauty of Your Name
Rising up from the ashes
God forever You reign
And my soul will find refuge
In the shadow of Your wings
I will love You forever
And forever I’ll sing
When the world caves in
Still my hope will cling to Your promise
Where my courage ends
Let my heart find strength in Your presence