Monday, January 18, 2010


JOHN 2: 1-11

One morning I was trying to keep up with the front runners in my running group. They were cruising along and I felt like I was running all out to keep up. One of the runners, Tom, came up from behind me and I said that I did not know how long I could keep up this pace. We were about 30:00 into the run at that point. Tom said, "Don't let doubt weigh you down. It will become like a giant weight upon your shoulders and just slow you down." It was good advice, but I could not let the doubt go. Within 5:00 I began to slow down, convinced I could not go any longer at the faster pace. Doubt had won out.

Everyone has doubts from time to time, but they can pass, unless we let them control our thinking. A golfer may see a stream of water 220 yards out from the tee. If he hits a good drive off the tee, it will carry the ball 240 yards and over the stream. Then doubt sets in. "I cannot do it. I might not hit a good enough drive." So he takes out a lesser club and hits a shorter shot. Doubt made him change his whole strategy. A baseball batter comes to the plate and begins to doubt that he can hit the pitcher's curve ball. The batter is practically out before he gets to the plate. A student doubts that he can do well on a test or a project. He has already begun to lower his/her grade and performance. Coaches, guides, and teachers try to help us to overcome our doubts. Otherwise we will never become all that God made us to be.

In the gospel, Jesus is testing Mary. She presents him with a disaster. No more wine at the wedding reception. If she had any doubts about Jesus, he is testing them. He does not give her a lot of confidence with his answer. "How does your concern affect me?" This would feed into anyone's doubts. If Mary had any doubts, she did not let them control her. She simply trusts that Jesus will take care of things, somehow.

Turn to the servants. They may very well have had doubts. "Who is this telling us what to do? He is not our master." But they follow instructions. Doubts don't hold them back. They may have had doubts when Jesus told them to draw from the jars and present to the headwaiter. "This is crazy, to bring water to the headwaiter!" they might think. But they draw the liquid and see that it is no longer the water they put into the jars. The headwaiter has no idea what happened. He was not tested. The waiters were tested, and now the servants know that Jesus is not just another guest at the banquet. Overcoming their doubts has moved them along in a faith journey.

If doubt rules our spiritual life, our prayer and worship life, then we won't have much of a relationship with God. If we say, "I doubt God will answer this prayer," or "I doubt God really cares about my situation, life, or disasters," then we have buried our faith and diminished our prayer. We cannot have much of a relationship with anyone where doubt plays such an important role. The disciples had doubts about Jesus when he got arrested and executed. They did not come to the cross. Mary did. Doubt did not interfere with her relationship to her son and Lord. She had been tested.

If the gospel says to take up our cross, and we doubt that this is a good thing, we won't do it. Doubt prevents us from becoming all we are meant to be in relationship with God. To achieve my goals in running, I not only have to train, but also overcome the thoughts in my head that say, "I cannot do this." It is the same with my spiritual goals. God's grace can overcome all doubts if we let it. Grace is offered. We must accept it and not turn back, or give up even when God tests us.

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