Lingering with Doubt

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Luke 23:44-49

[They] stood at a distance watching these things. (v. 49)

What do you do when Jesus does not fit your expectations? Peter saw Jesus from a distance but denied him. All Jesus’ acquaintances and the women who followed him from Galilee stood there watching. I imagine they were as confounded as Peter. They also were “at a distance” (v. 49), but they chose a different posture.

They did not ignore their pain or hide their grief. But in their confusion, they did not leave. They stayed with their questions in the presence of Jesus. Like David, their confidence in God didn’t stop them from wondering and questioning. David wrote the words that Jesus uttered from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Ps. 22:1). We may doubt it, but God is big enough for all our whys and cries and sighs.

I recently watched a video of a funeral in Uganda. A woman lost five adult children in an auto accident. This bereaved mother stood with a faithful resolve like the Galilean women. She acknowledged her grief and questions. She did not pretend all was well. But she lived with her questions in the shadow of the Almighty, expressing confidence that God will bring about greater glory, though now the challenge was great. I have not endured such tragedy, but I pray that we will live with our questions in the presence of Jesus. Peter simply forgot what he already knew: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, ask God to draw you closer during challenging times.