There are some things that Christians can’t and don’t talk about – but probably should. So, I would like to pastorally share some thoughts about this taboo topic of doubt in what will be part 1 in this short series of pastor’s desk articles of four taboo topics that Christians can’t talk about.
Of all Rudyard Kipling’s six best friends, I think Why is my favourite. Why is a question that leads to understanding – not just facts, but heart. Kiplings other five friends: Who; What; When; Where; and, How; are really mere lieutenants to their chief, Why. Most of you are probably already acquainted with Why but I want to help you to get better acquainted with this master of the interrogatives – especially those of us who want to change the world!
“Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Why leads to discovery and enlightenment. In Mark’s Gospel, he records the Jewish scribes asking themselves “in their hearts” why Jesus dared speak with divine authority. Their question is squarely answered when Jesus “perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves and trumped their why with His own. “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ — He said to the paralytic — ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.’ And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, We never saw anything like this!”
One of the things which gripped me as a new Christian was just how short life on earth was compared with eternity. As I read through the Gospels I was struck by how often Christ made this contrast to put this life into its proper perspective. Even if, as the Psalmist declared, man lives to a ripe old age, his life is but “a breath” – a mere “blade of grass” which sprouts in the morning and withers by the end of the day. This life is no mere dress rehearsal for next. It is of infinite and eternal consequences. The apostle told the Colossians that not a minute of it should be wasted. When it comes to the after-life, despite the teaching of those who identify as liberal Christians, the eternal Gate of Heaven into Paradise is not merely opened for the “religious”, but for the redeemed in Christ. And if we have any compassion for our fellow man we will do all we can to persuade them to repent from their rebellion and to humbly turn to the Saviour to accept His offer of salvation. Yet many will not do this because they are yet to see what Jesus described as the most convincing proof of all.