A regular working day at Caspari begins at 8:30 a.m. with half an hour of devotions. We read from the Bible; share our understanding of the Scriptures, our experiences, and our needs; and pray for each other, for the ministry and our nations, and for other matters. This wonderful tradition was established years ago by Rev. Torkild Masvie, a former Caspari CEO, and keeping it is a source of personal inspiration for our staff and volunteers and a channel of God’s blessings over the ministry.
One of the topics we discussed during recent weeks was our transparency before God about our inner lives. Does God care about what’s going on in the deepest corners of our souls? Is it all right to tell him how we really feel? What if these feelings and thoughts are actually contrary to his Word and will? What if, at the moment of truth, we discover in the depth of our hearts unbelief, doubts, and a lack of desire to obey him?
What should we do then? Perhaps suppress all that “rubbish,” pull ourselves
together and just go through the motions as if we do believe, hope, love, and want to obey? Can we afford to be brutally honest with him about our fears, pain, and disappointments? How will he react if we have the chutzpah to tell him about how it really feels? Aren’t we a pain in the neck for him when we talk to him about all this “unspiritual nonsense”?
No human on this Earth can perfectly live out his convictions at all times. Faith is the ability to stay the course even when we actually doubt, waver, and don’t feel the slightest desire to continue. So on the one hand, there surely are times – perhaps even many times – when we should ignore our changing emotions and “just do it,” not because we are bubbling with enthusiasm but because it’s our duty and the right thing to do.
On the other hand, God’s kingdom spreads itself over our life gradually, so we don’t become completely sanctified overnight. That means there may very well be some areas in our lives where, practically speaking, faith is still a stranger. To see how to deal with those areas, let’s look at John’s description of the interaction between Jesus and Thomas (John 20:24-29).
Thomas is not just open about his unbelief in the Resurrection: he makes an impression of being at least unashamed, if not proud, of it! He actually puts forth his own conditions for believing, namely, seeing Jesus for himself and touching the very wounds of the risen Lord with his own hands. Telling God to face you on your own terms is somewhat presumptuous, isn’t it?
The next thing that happens is Jesus’ appearance to Thomas. It is as if the Lord humbly accepts his challenge and encourages him to do the very thing he has just spoken of. Moreover, Jesus does not confront Thomas about his unbelief, but instead gently encourages him to choose faith over naturalism and skepticism.
The Lord knows the heart. He could see all the way through Thomas’ adamant defense, beyond his despair, inner turmoil, and questions, down to the passionate desire to belong, worship, and obey … a desire that has stumbled. And he comes to meet Thomas where he is.
That is grace. Isn’t it good to know that Jesus hasn’t changed since then?