Devotionals
 

Devotionals are short essays written by GSLC members and staff that explore the ways the Holy Spirit works within our every day lives.  There are several ways we invite you to use these devotionals:

  • Make them a part of a prayer practice - read a devotion and consider the ways that Christ has worked similarly in your life or works in unexpected ways.
  • Make them a part of a journaling practice - read a devotion and journal about what the Holy Spirit is stirring in you as you reflect on the essay.
  • Use them as a reminder that God works in all things, the bad and the good.

With over 400 available devotions, you can use these daily, weekly, or monthly.  It's up to you!  We just hope that by reading these inspiring stories provided by Good Shepherd's flock you are able to better see where Jesus is present in all things!  Thank you to all of our members that have provided devotionals throughout the past couple of years!

 
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

by retired Pastor, Larry Donner

DOUBT

John 20:24-29

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’

The “Doubting Thomas Story” from John is the First Sunday after Easter Gospel text used all three years of the Lutheran Lectionary (a book appointing sections of the Bible to be read on Sundays or other days of the year).Interns and associate pastors are well-acquainted with Thomas since, invariably, they are the ones who end up preaching about him while the Lead Pastor flits off to Florida following a grueling Lenten/Holy Week schedule!

This is arguably the most famous Gospel story dealing with doubt but there are many others, a terrified Peter looking for water wings as he sinks into the Sea of Galilee or the male disciples thinking the women’s report of an empty tomb to be just an idle tale being two prime examples. I love all these doubt stories because the characters are so much like I am with all my doubt. Yet, despite their doubt, they end of becoming strong witnesses to faith in Jesus. I take heart in that because it gives me hope and affirms what one of my favorite theologians, Paul Tillich, states: Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.”

Let’s be clear: doubt is neither unfaithful nor sinful. It’s merely part of that normal human wrestling we do with God that I wrote about yesterday. Grappling with doubt often leads to an even greater faith as we find ourselves yet again in the grip of a loving God. Think here of Job who, losing everything, is immersed in doubt but then emerges with a faith that lacks for nothing. Or Thomas, who cannot – will not – believe without benefit of the same proof all the other disciples already received, but then when met by the living Jesus expresses one of the greatest exclamations of faith we find in Scripture: “My Lord and my God!”

Sure, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” He is talking about us here. But he is not condemning us should we doubt. He is allowing us to embrace it and then providing the means for our doubt to be overcome by his grace in scars on hands and feet, in bread and wine, in reconciling words, in loving actions, and in all the other ways we are met by the living Lord. Such is the love of Christ that faith is found through doubt.

The next time you are wracked by doubt, remember good old Thomas – the patron saint of all us doubters – and the fact that his story is misnamed. It should be titled “The Believing Thomas Story,”

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