Many scriptures speak to those of “us” who constantly doubt Jesus. They speak of faith . . . Yet we turn and do just the opposite.
We read about people of faith in scripture and shake our heads with thoughts like this: After all, they were privy to walk and talk with Jesus Christ while He traveled here on earth—but even some of them expressed doubts!
In today’s scripture, Jesus addressed much of what He said to Phillip, probably because Philip seemed to be struggling the most with Jesus’ announcement that He was leaving. Wouldn’t it be nice to sit down and talk to Philip about what he was feeling?
Don’t you think Jesus might have been a little frustrated with Philip’s challenge to show them the Father (John 14:8)? “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am?”
I believe Philip had a hesitant belief. He had followed John the Baptist before meeting Jesus. Could it be that perhaps Philip was a bit disappointed when Jesus showed up after believing that John the Baptist just had to be the one? Jesus came and Phillip had to change direction. We become resistant and guarded when we build our hope and trust in someone or something and it does not pan out the way we think it should. Consider what Phillip may have felt when he realized John the Baptist was not the one. But he made the change. And now Jesus was telling him to prepare for more change.
Years ago in my early twenties, I met a young woman at work. As flight attendants, we flew together often and became close. As time went on, she announced her wedding engagement. All who knew her rejoiced with her as she happily planned for the big day and bought and ordered everything she could to make it special. The task was especially challenging because she lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the groom was in California, where the wedding was to take place.
At the time, I was disappointed I couldn’t fly that distance and return to Pittsburgh in time for a following morning check-in at work. However, God works in mysterious ways! Later I was glad I had not been present on my friend’s wedding day because the groom stood her up at the altar. Hearing about such outlandish things happening and being connected first hand to the situation are very different realities. That was before we all had the technological gadgets strapped to our waist and ears that we have today, but the news traveled just as fast.
My friend was utterly heartbroken, but became a stronger woman through it all. After much hard work, eventually the two worked it out. My friend forgave her future husband and three years later, they married—for real! My friend was willing to trust him again, even though he had broken her heart. She didn’t allow doubt and disappointment to overwhelm her. She was willing to seek the right plan even when events didn’t work out the way she had planned. The marriage could have never taken place all those years later if she had been reluctant or resistant to listening and continuing to love. Today the couple has more than forty years of marriage under their belt!
Dealing with doubt can trouble and overwhelm us to the point of stagnation! Can you not hear Philip urging, “Just show us the father” with panic in his voice. “Show Him to us and then I am good. Come on, just one time.”
Listen closely, my brothers and sisters. Listen to the frustration in Jesus’ voice. “Where have you been when we have been together?” Perhaps Philip had his head stuck in a cloud. Can you hear Jesus asking Philip about the day He had fed more than 5,000? I certainly can! “Man, don’t you remember?” said Jesus (see John 14:8). Philip didn’t like change. In fact, it often terrified him. But he had a first hand view of Jesus in all His glory!
I believe Jesus becomes frustrated with us too. Some of us resist change. We may not want to see someone we care about leave. We may want to continue doing things the way they’ve always been done instead of stepping out in faith to do what God is calling us to do. We may be afraid to take risks for Jesus Christ. Unless we remember Jesus is alongside us holding our hand, we become hesitant and fearful.
Jesus Christ is saying to Philip and to us, “Look around you. Do you not see me? Do you not feel your heart beating in the exact moments with mine? Do you not see me in the rain even during the times that it is pitch black in your life? Do you not see me?
No matter what you may be facing today . . . no matter what challenges lie ahead . . . Jesus is not about to leave you alone!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please help us to become risk takers for the kingdom and let us feel your heavenly presence even when we do not see you!