When you ask first graders if they’ve ever experienced doubt, get ready for some truth. There may be pain, so prepare yourself.

“I had doubts that I could ever read.”

“Once my dad got really mad, and I believed that I was a bad daughter.”

Oh children. I’m sorry.

They get right to the heart of things, don’t they? Can I do what every other child can do? What life expects of me? What if I never learn to read? What if there is something wrong with just me?

And What if I really am as bad as I’m acting right now- as I feel right now? My mom and dad are the ones who love me the most. What if they can’t take it anymore? What if I’m so bad that they stop loving me?

It happens to every child. It happens in every family. We doubt our worth, our abilities, and the love that’s as important to us as air. We wonder if we’ll be good enough for the world to love, for our families to love. What if we’re not? What happens if we’re not enough?

That’s some heavy doubt.

What would you say to your child if she asked those questions? I bet you’d say something like, “Honey, I love you NO MATTER WHAT! Nothing in this whole world could ever get in the way of me loving you- NOTHING! Throw poop at me all day long and I’ll love you anyway! (I’ll get goggles and some serious parenting help, but I’ll love you anyway!) Never learn to read and who cares? I’ll read to you and love you anyway! Stay in your bed sucking on your own toes until you’re thirty? I’ll find you a doctor and a therapist and maybe a life coach- whatever- but I’ll love you anyway!”

Hey, that sounds familiar!

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. Romans 8:38

It’s good to respond to doubt. And it’s good to meet fellow doubters.

Last Sunday in Sunday School, our children studied the story of the most famous doubter, Thomas. Poor Thomas gets a bad rap on account of doubting his friends when they excitedly babble on about how Jesus- who was dead!- showed up in a locked room and wished everybody peace. What? Thomas had to see the nails for himself. Wouldn’t you? I think I might.

And what did Jesus do? Did he show up again just to speak truth in love to Thomas about his lack of faith? No. He appears again to the group behind locked doors, ready to help Thomas. He wishes them all peace and then gives Thomas the way to find it. “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.” Jesus knows what Thomas needs, and instead of scolding him, he gives him proof, in love.

So if you hear yourself ask yourself, can I have the faith God expects of me? Can I do what every other Christ follower can do? What if there’s something wrong with just me? Just remember that God will do for you what God did for Thomas. We can ask God for the peace we need, and God will help us find it. We don’t have to have the answers already.

Thanks be to God!

Now I’m going to bed and probably have nightmares about my children throwing poop at me and sucking on their toes in bed until they’re thirty.

Peace to you!