A large crowd was gathered to watch the Great Blondin walk 160 feet across the tightrope stretched a quarter of a mile above the mighty Niagara Falls. Upon reaching the other side, the crowd's applause was louder than the roar of the falls. A photographer there to cover the event saw the ease at with Blondin traversed the Falls and challenged him to do it again but pushing a wheelbarrow. So, Blondin did! And the photographer upped his challenge asking the Great Blondin to push the wheelbarrow across the tightrope but with someone riding in it. Blondin’s response to the photographer… “Hop in!” As far as the story goes, the photographer declined the proposition!
That’s how it is with our faith, isn’t it? We believe but with just enough doubt to refuse to jump in the wheelbarrow. It is one thing for us to say we believe in God. But occasionally our minds reach the capacity of our limited understanding, our emotions are stretched to the point of uncertainty, or our beliefs are challenged beyond our willingness to follow and doubt creeps in.
When we walk down the long hallway of Christian faith, we find that we are not alone in our skepticism. Think of Noah, setting out to build a boat when it had never even rained from the sky. Think of Sarah, laughing at God’s promise to give her and Abraham a son in their advanced age. Think of Moses, the man who argued with a burning and talking bush, insisting God had the wrong guy. Think of every prophet listed in the Old Testament who had to say to themselves, “God, surely you don’t want me to tell your people that!” Think of Thomas who exclaimed, “Unless I see…I will never believe” (John 27). Think of all the apostles staring into the eyes of the resurrected Christ receiving the words of the Great Commission and…doubting (Matthew 28:17).
That’s a good group to be included in and assures us that doubt doesn’t disqualify our belief but instead gives us an opportunity to grow deeper in our faith. How so? Take a closer look at all of these characters and we see three things in common:
1. Each character acknowledged their doubt.
Sarah did. She laughed! Moses did. He argued. The prophets did. They often questioned God. Thomas did. He refused to believe until he saw for himself. Don’t run from your doubt. Be honest with yourself and others about it.
2. Each character pursued the answers.
Noah grabbed a hammer. Moses approached the burning bush. Abraham and Sarah must have had sex. Thomas placed his finger through the hole in Jesus’ hand. They were each willing to step into the wheelbarrow!
3. God showed up!
It rained. Isaac was born. The bush talked. The prophecies came true. Thomas believed. The disciples went to all nations. When we step into the wheelbarrow, God shows up!
So what do you say? Will you hop in?