“…tell us plainly.”

by Richelle Wright on February 9, 2015

The Jews make that request of Jesus.

The Jews make this statement at a very specific time and at a very specific place: the Feast of Dedication (while celebrating the remembrance of miraculous provision) at Solomon’s Colonnade (where God had traditionally accomplished great things).

 Can you identify with “the Jews” in this passage?

Have you ever prayed to the Lord and asked Him to show you, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that He is the Messiah? That you are on the right path, doing what He’s asked you to do?

Photo by C Marine

Photo by C Marine

I have… I still do…

Just like the Jews in this passage.

The question they asked, as some versions literally render it, “how long dost thou take away our soul?”

“Tell us plainly… Have you come to take away our souls?”

My husband and I have often discussed conundrum. He rarely doubts God; he rarely questions if He is true, if He has a plan and we are following it, if Jesus is Who He says He is and really did come and do what He said He would. I, on the other hand, struggle more with doubt… a lot more often than I care to admit. I easily identify with the Jews’ question.

I start thinking about God, trying to figure Him out, trying to make Him and what I think I see Him doing make-sense-according-to-me.

My mind gets overwhelmed by the enormity and awesomeness and power of the God I desperately want to believe in.

Then I start coming up with my own ideas to try and make all the puzzle pieces fit:

  • What if we’ve made all of this up?
  • What if the Bible isn’t inspired and is nothing more than a creative, enticing fabrication created by those who wanted for themselves and others a real purpose in life?
  • What if this life is all there is and then there is nothing?
  • What if what I think God wants me to do is me disguising my own wishes and not really His will or plan?

Big problem… because many day, I can’t really, definitively, answer those questions. Then there are those many days I’m confident I can.

There really aren’t any answers other than to confess, once again, my unbelief – to cry out in desperation, “Lord, I believe! Help Thou my unbelief!”

 Then, the very things that entice me to doubt

…rioters burning what still feels like “our church,” the very church where we worshiped, dripped sweat, fellowshipped, laughed, taught and sometimes struggled to stay awake while others taught…

God uses to help my unbelief as I hear about God’s grace and sustaining presence even in the midst of so much loss.

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Photo by Danette Childs

 The very things that open the door and invite anxiety

…transitioning to a new place of ministry that is literal light years different and apart from where we’ve been, what we’ve done and what we know. Everything seems so new, so scary, so hard, so unknown…

God uses to wrap me with comfort as I see so many above and beyond provisions in little and unexpected things.

 That’s what faith is all about: a believing synergism between God’s empowering grace to believe… and man’s choice to believe, regardless…

At some moment, I have to leap and trust that God will be there to catch me, even on the days I can’t see Him. And? To be okay with, on those doubting days, knowing that the moment I’ll know for sure will be that moment when I’m caught.

 So what’s the answer to that question the Jews posed?

Jesus did not come to steal and destroy but to deliver life back to our souls.

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Do you struggle with doubt? How do you overcome those doubts?

How would you answer the Jews question?

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About Richelle Wright

Disciple of Jesus, lover of God's Word, wife to one great guy, and mama of eight, Richelle has spent the past 13 years in Niger, West Africa. She and her family are currently in the throes of transition as they begin life and ministry (teaching, audio-visual production) in the Canadian province of Québec. |ourwrightingpad.blogspot.com|
  • Elizabeth Trotter

    “Tell us plainly” . . . wouldn’t that be nice?? I’m certainly waiting for the end of days for some clear, plain answers on things. I think it’s only because I have hope of having answers some day that for the time being, I can wait . . .

    Did you watch Jen Hatmaker on IF:Gathering? Her talk on faith and belief was SO good. And funny too. 🙂 She talked about some of the obstacles to faith, a big one being that God is invisible. (Like, duh! Sometimes I forget that.) She said sometimes we have difficulty believing because of God’s own people, and that is also true for so many people. And she mentioned that faith is one of the spiritual gifts, meaning for some people, faith just comes so easily, and I’ve known people like that. For the rest of us, we may have struggles to believe. You should watch it — it’s very grace-filled. She’s in Session 2 @ http://ifgathering.com/archived-videos/ 🙂

    • Richelle Wright

      Thanks for the link – I will watch that. I’ve never actually seen her talk, so I’m interested on that front.

      Interesting idea, too, about faith being a spiritual gift – I guess I’ve always considered it one of those spiritual gifts we all get – otherwise, how would we believe to begin with. I figured this battle with doubt would get easier… I’d be more confident… but just when it seems I’m trusting more confidently, some crazy thought enters my mind. I’ve kinda been relating it back to Laura Parker’s recent post on her blog… I spend much of the time trying to fight that doubt/faith battle in my own strength. And then last night, as I was reading/studying 1 John 1:3, where John writes: “And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ…” It hit me that I don’t often think of fellowship as something I can do with God… but more of with His people and with Him through His people… and I wonder if that’s partly why I struggle with doubt – my relationship with God is often primarily intellectual as I study His Word, but then the more emotional/feeling side is as I relate to Him through His people… and somehow I need to start relating to Him without that intermediary…

      • Elizabeth Trotter

        Goodness, I so relate to that, interacting with God mainly intellectually. For me it takes a deliberate choice to do otherwise. It is definitely a journey I’m walking! And apparently, I’m walking it along with you. 🙂

        By the way I LOVE John! I think when we try to fight stuff in our own strength, we often fail. For me this past year I was trying to make myself truly believe God loved me. It wasn’t working very well. Then when I stopped trying so hard and simply let myself believe, it suddenly seemed possible.

        I’m glad God gave us a mind and a heart, in His own image. We can relate to Him with both! And what’s more, I think He wants us to connect with Him through both our hearts and our heads — connect to HIS heart, and HIS mind. He is perfect, and His heart and head blend perfectly; ours, not so much. . . .

        • Richelle Wright

          okay… that settles it. we’ve just gotta sit down together sometime and have coffee. 🙂

          just thought of this – a friend gave me a book a few years back called the gospel according to job – and it is an amazing book and it really does address in short/daily devos this battle between head and heart as that was a large part of job’s struggle, too. i’d highly recommend it, if you can get your hands on it. i’m always going back to it and rereading it. i’m also spending a rather large proportion of time these past couple of years trying to disciple my oldest – a boy – through these same sorts of questions. 🙂 good thing he’s not insistent on me giving answers when a lot of the time, i feel like i don’t have a clue!

  • Marilyn Gardner

    So relate with this Richelle – “Tell us Plainly…” That and “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” are going through my head over and over. Thank you.

    • Richelle Wright

      Yeah… I wish it was one of those “seasonal” things… but this seems a lot more like my thorn in the flesh, if you will.

      Thank YOU for sharing that you struggle with these questions, too.

  • Emily Daniell

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Did you jump into my brain and what I’m feeling right now before putting this down? 😉 Good to not be alone. On those doubting and hard days, I just go back to times when I knew and understood the goodness and presence of the Lord. That’s so often sustaining in the dry times.

    • Richelle Wright

      well… i don’t think i jumped into your brain… maybe you’ve been muddling around in mine? 😉

      it is good not to feel alone because, as i said, my hubby doesn’t tend to struggle on this front. neither do my closest friend or my two oldest daughters. i’m starting to suspect that my number 4 girlie does, though, as does my oldest – my son. he and i’ve had many conversations along this line and he often brings up questions with me first, before talking to his dad, for that very reason.

      i love how you said that during the dry times, you remember back to the moments when you knew and understood the goodness and presence of the Lord. reminds me of that quote: “don’t forget in the dark what you learned in the light.” also makes me think of the testimony of the young aid worker who just died in syria – and the thoughts that she shared in her last letter.

      thanks for hopping into our conversation here. appreciated what you said.

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