But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (James 1:6-8 NIV)
When I was young I followed the argumentation of theologians and philosophers concerning God’s existence and the immortality of our human soul. However when I got to know the Holy Scriptures in their context such proofs were no longer called for – neither for nor against. After all understanding Holy Scriptures is a gift from God. I studied the doctrine concerning the soul’s condition after death and was surprised to find how many very clear and illuminating passages the Bible contained on this topic. If anywhere then here the saying holds true: “Whoever seeks, finds!” Many unexpected, astonishing and blissful perspectives into the hereafter, into the inheritance of the saints in the light are granted in it. And I wish, you would experience the same. Then the divine patience and his forbearance would become more understandable. Whoever knows what is waiting for him and knowing this in a fashion that is only possible to those enlightened by God’s word, is enabled to cope with all hardship no matter how heavy or lengthy this may seem. The joy is not eradicated by suffering, but is rather increased. In his spirit he is already striving towards the godly place, where there is no suffering, no crying and no tears either anymore. This truly is a most amazing and wonderful experience of eternal joys already tasted in advanced and ahead of time!
O almighty God! You have sent your prophets in days gone by and even today you reveal your holy will. Grant that we learn to be submissive to you and obedient to your holy word. Grant us appropriate reverence towards you and your word until we finally come to view you in your glory face to face and hear you speaking and in this hearing come to eternal peace. Amen. (Jean Calvin)
Doubt is a bad carpenter and builder. There never was a worse one here on earth. The entire yard is full of bricks and stones, but doubt never starts building or construction. Always there’s something forgotten, something outstanding, something to be measured and the rain is pouring through the roof, so that nobody wants to stay there. If you do not put off doubt and instead hold onto God and his promises faithfully, yes, if the word from his mouth is not your anchor, rock and firm foundation then you will never build anything firm – not even a weak and delicate bird’s nest. (Reimar von Zweter 1236. The translation is rather somewhat literal and neither poetic nor hymnal)
(Translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Thursday after the 6th Sunday after Epiphany as found on Pg. 93 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and puplished in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.)