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Teen talk: Proof doesn’t change anything

Thomas wanted proof. We simply believe what God tells us.

Gilbert Haw

Do you remember the story of Thomas?

After Jesus rose from death, he appeared before his disciples. Most of them, anyway. Thomas was not present. When the others told him what they saw, Thomas didn’t believe. He said that if he did not have proof—seeing the marks from the nails in Jesus’ hands and feet and the stab wound from the spear in his side—he would not believe (John 20:24-29).

When I was younger, I don’t think I understood this. Why would Thomas doubt what the people he’d been traveling with for three years were saying? Why should he need proof? Jesus said he would rise!

Unfortunately, that opinion begins to change as we leave our Christian bubble. As we go and see the rest of the world, we don’t see universal support for our beliefs. We see a morally decayed world abandoning the God who created it and encouraging others do the same. We are taught to demand absolute, irrefutable proof to justify our beliefs. It becomes easier and easier to question God. After all, how can we possibly prove that anything God has told us through his Word is true?

The only honest answer to that question is that we can’t. Like it or not, it is simply impossible to prove, one way or the other, that God created the world in six days or that Jesus actually turned water into wine. While our faith is centered around the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which could, in theory, be proven, that will not happen until the Last Day when he comes again.

We don’t like having to just trust someone. Like Thomas, we always want proof.

Fortunately it isn’t having undeniable proof that saves us. In fact, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Jesus knows that it’s hard to trust him when we don’t have proof. Yet he tells us that we are blessed for believing without proof of seeing him, his miracles, his death, and his resurrection.

While this may be difficult to accept, it important to remember that we are not saved by proof. When Jesus told the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, he said, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced, even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31). Jesus tells us that all we need to know is in the Bible. Proof, even if someone rises from the death before our eyes, won’t change anything. We believe what God says. It isn’t proof that will give us faith. It’s his Word.

Throughout life, it’s pretty much inevitable that we will experience doubt. We, like Thomas, will want to demand proof before we believe. Despite this, we should know that we are forgiven for our doubt and that it is through Jesus that we are saved just as Jesus said and as we read in the Bible. We are not saved by absolute certainty of any proof, except the words of Jesus.

It may be difficult to accept that, and it won’t get any easier as time goes on, but we can take comfort in knowing that God will keep us in the faith and will strengthen that faith as we hear his Word and receive his Supper. We may not be able to satisfy scientists and intellectuals with proof of our faith, but with God’s help and through his grace, we can be firm in what we believe.

Gilbert Haw, a junior at Lakeside Lutheran High School, Lake Mills, Wisconsin, is a member at St. Paul, Lake Mills.

Author: Gilbert Haw
Volume 106, Number 4
Issue: April 2019

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This entry is part 15 of 16 in the series teen talk

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