"But David said to Saul, 'Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.'"

1 Samuel 17: 34-35

It was Wednesday night. I returned home from church. I drove the motorcycle into the garage. Margie was calling me to come on in, NOW! There was a sound of urgency in her voice. That in itself was unusual. A black bear had been to visit. She thought she heard me out behind the house, walked out on the lanai, (screened in), and there he was. A 300- pound black bear was eight feet from our back door. The noise she had heard was the bear tearing down the bird feeder.

Now, I'm not going to compare Margie to David in 1 Samuel 17: 34, but she was excited enough to cause me concern.

Poor little thing, she must have scared him half to death. This massive critter with fangs and claws was most certainly not a citizen of her comfort zone. When she first started telling me, I just knew it must have been a big raccoon. Then I got to see the pictures. And yes, it was a black bear. He was a big one. In the pictures, I could see his muscled up shoulders and big head.

It seems our world is full of doubters. People brag about their skepticism. "You've got to prove it to me," seems to be the mindset. Some say God is obvious; others say he is invisible or doesn't exist. All I would suggest to an atheist or agnostic is, consider the evidence and be fair and reasonable in deciding what you believe. I have a friend in law enforcement that says, "Always follow the evidence." Evidence in the minds of many people points to the existence of God as the Creator.

Doubt can be compared to a disease. It eats away at the mind and soul like a cancer. It can also grow like a cancer. If left untreated, it can deteriorate one's faith and trust in the One that saved us. Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sins. He could have called 12 legions of angels (Matthew 26: 53) to have stopped the entire process, but He did not.

The next time I come home and wife Margie tells me there was a black bear or Florida panther in the back yard, I will immediately believe her without having to see the pictures. When He tells me in His book called the Holy Bible that I can have eternal life by believing in Him through faith, I'm on board that train as well.

James 1: 6 "But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." Doubt creates instability within the person. An absolute firmness in one's belief must not waiver.

Jesus dealt with doubt. After the resurrection, Jesus went in to the disciples. John 20: 20-24 "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 appeared 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."

In this account of Thomas doubting, we at first tend to condemn him. However, we being human, like Thomas, maintain our fair share of similar doubt. God's glory (Romans 3: 23) is in His righteousness and perfection. We do not have those characteristics. We doubt because we do not have the level of perception, wisdom and knowledge of God. That is why we need God's grace and mercy.

We live in a world in which people require proof. God gives us faith (Hebrews 11) as a belief method. Faith is believing in something we cannot prove. So much of our lives are based on faith and we never give those things a second thought. Every bite of food we eat or beverage we drink requires faith. Can you prove your next meal will not poison you or make you sick? Every step we take and every mile we drive requires faith. We start a business, get married and open a bank account on faith.

So you see, faith is an important part of our lives. The bear in our yard was very real and Margie had proof. I was the doubter, and was wrong. It would be catastrophic to be wrong about God.