27 June 2013

Unfathomable unbelief (re-post)

by Dan Phillips

Of course, Phil's Po-Motivator makes this post from December of 2007 a "win" all by itself. But I thought it timely as well.

And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?" (Luke 24:38)
Is this really a rhetorical question?

Our unbelief has to be unfathomable to God, as was the disciples' to Christ. It is as if He were saying,
"What basis have I ever given you for doubting Me? I told you that I would be rejected, handed over to the chief priests and scribes, beaten, condemned, crucified, killed (Luke 9:22, 44; 18:31-33). You didn't believe that would happen, but it did. I also said I'd rise again from the dead (Luke 18:33). Did you disbelieve? Again? Why?"
To say that God knows and understands all things is not to say that God finds everything understandable, if you take my meaning.

It is clear that the Lord does not see doubt as a virtue. But beyond even that, He seems to find unbelief unbelievable.

Dan Phillips's signature


Tom Chantry said...

Excellent point. I was preaching earlier this week on the Calming of the Storm, another point at which Jesus said pretty much the same thing: "Why are you afraid? Do you have so little faith?"

His question seems inconceivable. Some of the disciples were professional watermen; they probably knew people, or at least knew of people, who had died in exactly that sort of storm. Fear was natural, and His question seems absurd.

Yet clearly their lack of faith in Him is equally absurd and inconceivable to Him. It's something I try to remind myself of often when I struggle with fear and doubt. If Jesus spoke this way to the disciples while on earth, I imagine Him now shaking His head at me and saying something along the lines of "Really? I rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, sent the Holy Spirit, established a world-wide church...and you're worried about this?"

Paul Nevergall said...

Enjoyed the post.

Enjoyed Tom's comment as well however, now I want to watch The Princess Bride.

Michael Coughlin said...


Rob said...

Just a thought that, of all the pomo posters, this one seems the most nuanced, as if it could be read different ways depending on the context of where it was posted. Just $.02

DJP said...

I think it's my favorite, which is saying something.

trogdor said...

I'm trying to process how this relates to empathy. Is it good for me to hear someone's sin story and think "I understand where you're coming from, but..."? Should sanctification result in seeing righteousness as so utterly blessed, and sin as so utterly accursed, that I can't even fathom why temptations are tempting?

And even in that process, there's the danger of becoming Pharisaical (I can't believe how those guys sin!) rather than Pauline (Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!). Growing disgust at the insanity of sin should only heighten the sweetness of the gospel.

DJP said...

I don't say it's always easy, but the difference here I think isn't between compassion and enablement, but between affirming God's trustworthiness and implying the opposite. Verses like Heb. 4:15; 5:2; Jude Only:22 and others caution me against a lying pose as if I know nothing personally of temptation, weakness, ignorance, frailty. I don't have only two choices: "Your doubt makes perfect sense" and "How dare you doubt, weak infidel?!" There's also, "Ah me, I wish I could say I didn't know how you feel but I totally do. But here's what challanges me when I'm feeling that way:..." or "...what has helped me see it differently."

Like that.