Jesus likes doubters.

As a person of faith (especially faith in Jesus), I can’t ignore the hardest questions put forward by skeptics and seekers: Is there proof that God exists? Why even listen to the Bible when some of its teachings seem outright barbaric? And so on and so on.

I don’t think hard questions should be ignored, and I don’t think anyone should ever blame a question for being unsettling (that is, not shallow enough). But one thing I’ve wrestled with is this:

How can I be faithful to Jesus and love God when there are times I’m not sure He exists?

I don’t want to just pretend like everything’s fine, and I don’t want to lie by preaching a message that sometimes I’m not even sure I embrace. (For one thing, if God exists and you’re lying to people about what you believe, and God hates lying, that puts you in a tough spot!)

But earlier today, this thought hit me: In his final moments on earth, Jesus enlisted doubters to do his work.

Check Matthew 28. Jesus appears to his followers after his resurrection … and some of them still doubt him. I don’t know what else they needed to be trust Jesus fully, but clearly the Resurrection wasn’t enough.

But Jesus doesn’t wait for them to get their act together.

He didn’t measure everyone’s faith and kick out the ones who didn’t make the cut.

This group was nowhere close to having it all together … and Jesus still welcomed them. Still loved them. And still put them to work.

Their Lord, whom they doubted, commanded them to make disciples (students) out of all the nations, to baptize them in the name of the triune God who, in Jesus, had overcome sin and death for all of humanity.

Today, the church can look back over the last 2,000 years and be amazed that doubters and skeptics changed the world.

I don’t have the answers to the toughest questions of our faith. But the good news for people like me is, Jesus isn’t waiting for me to have everything answered before he beckons me to join him.

That’s not what he expects of me. Or you.

Still a ways to go.

“and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:32

I think one of the things that’s bound to disappoint anyone who follows Jesus is that you’re not going to be fixed in this lifetime.

You’re never going to completely do away with your issues and shrug off every sin as if you were kicking off a blanket.

We’re not promised that.

In this life, there will always be something for God to forgive in you. To work on in you. To confront you with. But in this life, we can rest in knowing that we are being set free. Slowly, painfully, surely, until the Day comes when He makes all things new, even ourselves.

No matter how beaten down we are or how dirty of a past we bring with us on the journey, Jesus doesn’t give up on his followers. He’s in the fight with us.

Cool stuff on today’s Interwebs.

  • Politifact reviews President Obama’s campaign pledges on Afghanistan.
  • Internet Monk explores how to preach the story of Ananias and Sapphira (in Acts 5) without obscuring the Gospel.
  • Hemant Mehta takes Rick Warren to task for not directly opposing new Ugandan legislation that would make homosexuality punishable by death. Under this proposal, anyone who is aware of someone’s homosexuality and doesn’t report it in 24 hours could be arrested for their silence.
  • When Jon Acuff at SCL turns his talent toward Serious Wednesdays, you should check it out.
  • Looking for new blogs to read? So is Anne Jackson.
  • The Post Christian blog has some interesting thoughts on enemies. Pay particular attention to the beginning of the third-to-last paragraph.

Looking back.

I’m halfway through Don Miller’s most-recent book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. In the spirit of making a better story for myself, I made a list of things I want out for my life.

Here’s what I came up with so far, things that I think I could look back on in 20 years and be proud of:

  • To marry a beautiful, inspiring woman
  • To write stories that move and excite people
  • To have more adventures (whatever shape they may take)
  • To be more giving with my money, regardless of how much I make at the time
  • To lose 30 pounds
  • To be courageous and take more risks, instead of letting fear poison my decisions (This probably can go along with taking adventures, but I wrote it separately earlier in my notebook, so I did it here, too.)
  • To be someone who lives such a life of love that it makes others think twice about their decision to stop trusting and following Jesus

When I put these together, I realized a pattern:

None of them have anything to do with material possessions.

Nothing about having a certain number of books or having gone to Starbucks by X amount of times. Getting a bigger paycheck would be nice, but it didn’t cross my mind when I compiled my list.

Jesus once told someone that “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

In 20 years, I think I’ll have learned just how true that is.