God is meant to be experienced. God is on the move. He is an active part of our lives. Sometimes though, we stop experiencing Him. We quit carving out time to spend in His presence. We quit carving out time to read our Bibles. We disconnect from the source. We check out. I think that is where the disconnect happens in spiritually sleeping, dry and hungry people, of which I have been the worst. I think that’s when doubt creeps in like weeds, choking our vines and keeping us from the Living Water we so desperately need to survive.
It’s been a very burdensome year for all of us, and I believe in those times it’s the easiest for the doubt to creep in. It’s the easiest for us to disconnect. Dear brothers and sisters, many of our deepest, life-changing experiences with the Lord have happened in the darkest valleys. May I also remind you that God does reward great faith, but He doesn’t punish the doubter. Many times in my life I’ve found myself in the position of the Apostle Thomas. It’s so easy in the flesh to take our eyes off of Jesus and focus on the world, where cynicism and despair can fill our hearts. Jesus was gentle with Thomas. He allowed him to experience Him deeper to dispel his doubt. “Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:24-29 NIV).
Psalm 34:8, my favorite verse in the book of Psalms, says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him” (NIV). Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says on this passage, “34:1-10 If we hope to spend eternity in praising God, it is fit that we should spend much of our time here in this work. He never said to any one, Seek ye me in vain. David's prayers helped to silence his fears; many besides him have looked unto the Lord by faith and prayer, and it has wonderfully revived and comforted them. When we look to the world, we are perplexed, and at a loss. But on looking to Christ depends our whole salvation, and all things needful thereunto do so also. This poor man, whom no man looked upon with any respect, or looked after with any concern, was yet welcome to the throne of grace; the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The holy angels minister to the saints, and stand for them against the powers of darkness. All the glory be to the Lord of the angels. By taste and sight we both make discoveries, and have enjoyment; Taste and see God's goodness; take notice of it, and take the comfort of it. He makes all truly blessed that trust in Him.”
God’s goodness is not only something we experience in the peak moments of our lives. It’s something that God allows us to taste and see in the valleys. It’s something we can take comfort in. It’s something we can count on. It’s something we never have to doubt.