Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Daily Office Reflection: Doubt and Faith

Psalms 97, 99 (100) * 94 (95); Maccabees 3:25-41; Revelation 21:1-8; Matthew 17:14-21

Jesus comes down the mountain today with Peter, James and John, having been just transfigured before their eyes, and he is greeted by a man who tried to have his epileptic son healed by the disciples who had remained behind. But they failed at their attempt to heal the boy.

Were the disciples annoyed at being left behind by Jesus? Were they starting to panic about being left alone: what if Jesus doesn't come back? What are we to do? And, perhaps in that panic, in that doubt, their faith (which was still developing) waned and they were not able to heal the epileptic boy. Perhaps Jesus' annoyance was directed at these disciples he left at the base of the mountain to take care of those things while he was busy doing something else. Jesus says as much at the end of today's Gospel reading when he says, in response to a query as to why they couldn't heal the boy, Because of your little faith.

Doubt, perhaps, got in the way of those disciples' efforts at healing. Doubt got in the way of what they had seen first hand, what they knew they could do in Jesus' name. They forgot, let doubt get in the way, of the knowledge of how the world can be different because Jesus has entered our world. Doubt got in the way of their faith.

Doubt will always be with us. Balanced against that doubt is a sure and confident knowledge that God loves us, became human in Jesus, knows us better than we know ourselves and is here with us at all times. That knowledge can outweigh the doubt and tip the scales to the side of faith, if we allow that to happen. Which side of the scale are we going to allow to rule us today?

Copyright 2009, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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