It has been said, many times before, that God is a god of second chances. Quite frankly, that’s just not accurate. That statement fails to even begin to describe the depth of chances that God gives to us. If we only had a second chance, then we would be in a lot of trouble. Let’s face it, we have all failed time and time again. Think about how many times that you have prayed to God and said something like, “I’ll never do it again.” Now, think about how many times that you then did that thing again. We often make deals with God, but we rarely ever hold up our end of the bargain. While this isn’t ideal, that’s life.
God has known, since the beginning of time, that his prized creation would never be able to get it right. Revelation 13:8 speaks to this by saying that Jesus was, “The lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” From before the beginning, God was preparing a way for us. That came through Christ’s sacrifice of himself on our behalf. Hebrews 9:12 tells us that his death was sufficient, “Once for all.” Here’s some good news: Jesus’ death covered allof your sins, every last one. That is hard for us to wrap our minds around because we cannot escape the thought process of having to do something to earn God’s grace. We are so ingrained with the idea that we get what we work for that we struggle to accept the free gift given to us. We begin to beat ourselves up and doubt God’s love and forgiveness. We think that our most recent failure is the one that will finally cause God to give up on us.
Doubt is a natural inclination amongst humans. It is a result of the warped mindset that has been passed down from generation to generation, since Adam and Eve bit the forbidden fruit. The very first thing they did when they committed the first sin was to hide from God because they doubted that he would still love them and forgive them. Of course, God did give them grace because that is the very nature of God. After all, he is love (1 John 4:16). So, what do we do when we begin to doubt? My suggestion, as always, is to go to the word and see what it has to say.
Perhaps the most famous case of doubting is Thomas. This poor guy has been given the adjective of “doubting” in front of his name ever since his most famous moment, as if he’s the only one to ever doubt God. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the risen Savior decided to visit his disciples. They were locked away and hiding. This didn’t stop the Messiah from walking into the room though. He spent some time with them and gave them a mission. However, Thomas wasn’t there. Later on, Thomas returned to the group, and they told him what had happened. Naturally, he didn’t believe them and doubted their story. The next week, Jesus returned to the group. This time, Thomas was there. Instead of chastising or belittling Thomas, Jesus had the doubter place his finger in the nail holes in his hands and the spear wound in his side. Jesus finished by telling Thomas, “Stop doubting and believe.” All of that story can be found in John 20: 24-29.
The biggest takeaway that I get from that story is that Jesus was not angry with Thomas when he doubted. Instead, he proved to him that he was who he said he was. That is how Jesus is always going to operate in our lives. He is not out to get us when we doubt, and that can be any kind of doubt. Whether it is doubt that he will forgive you, doubt that he will be there for you, doubt that he will provide for you, doubt that he will turn your bad situation into good, doubt that he loves you, doubt that he has a plan for you that far exceeds anything that you could ask or imagine, etc. Jesus is not in damnation business. He is in the blessing business. That does not change whenever we struggle to believe it. His goodness is not dependent upon our understanding of it. He is good regardless. It comes down to if we accept it in our lives or not.
Jesus is always willing to prove who he is to us. Go to him with your doubts. He’s not going to be offended or enraged. Instead, like he did with Thomas, he will remind you of the holes that were put into his body so that he could hang on the cross on our behalf. He will let you know that he did that out of his unending love for you. He will do something extraordinary in your life to show you that love. Whatever it is that you’re doubting, he will provide for it you. More than likely, in ways that will blow your mind. Then, he will ask to “not doubt, but believe.” Thankfully for us, this scene will play out again and again in our lives. We will never stop doubting, but praise be to God that he will never stop loving us and proving his love to us. He is not a god of second chances, but the God of unending chances.