Is fear making you doubt that God can work it all out? Banish fear and doubt. The Lord your God is with you where ever you go (Joshua 1:9).
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 came 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.”
John 20:24-29 – NIV
As a little girl, I had no great love for my crib. I much preferred the safety and comfort of my parent’s bed. They, on the other hand, grew tired of the wiggly little interloper, and insisted on my return to my own sleeping quarters.
I had other ideas, and decided to voice them at the top of my lungs, for quite some time I am told. Apparently, I refused to believe that my parents were serious about this new bedtime arrangement. Some time later, when things quieted down, Mom and Dad snuck down the hall and peered in my door. There, in the corner of the crib, sat a sniffling toddler, arms crossed, bottom lip stuck out in a major pout.
It seems my pout produced the intended results. One look at that sad little face, and they scooped me up and took me to their room.
I must confess that I was good at poking out that bottom lip. I didn’t argue or sass them, but I sure could pout.
Pouting and doubting kind of go together, don’t they? For instance, take the disciple Thomas. When Jesus first appeared to his disciples following his resurrection, Thomas was not there with his brethren.
Imagine his surprise when he returns to that upper room and is greeted with the jubilant declaration, “We have seen the Lord!” Can’t you just see Thomas standing there, stunned and bewildered, trying to take in their words? And then I wonder did he feel a little jealous, a little left out, a little put upon? “Why did they get to see him, and I didn’t?”
I imagine him standing there, studying his friends with irritation. Then with crossed arms and a poked out lip, he exclaims, “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.”
I wonder. Was he pouting and refusing to believe? Or was he such a pragmatist that he required all the facts before accepting the situation? Either way, Thomas is so human, isn’t he? He wants things his way. He wants all the facts. He insists on understanding. He needs proof before he buys in.
Regardless of his flaws, despite his pouting and doubting, Jesus loves Thomas. We see that love because Jesus shows up and shows Thomas his hands and side. Thomas doubted, but Jesus loved him anyway. He loved him enough to give Thomas the proof he needed.
We are all guilty of doubt. We say we believe God is sovereign and in control, and then we try to control our circumstances. We say we believe God will work it out, and then we worry. We are no better than Thomas
But the good news is that Jesus loved Thomas, and he loves us too. He is aware of our shortcomings and still chooses to stay by our side.
Jesus had one more lesson to teach Thomas, and that lesson applies to us today. Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
We weren’t there to see the nail pierced hands or the wounded side. We are left to hear the story of Jesus’ resurrection and accept it without hard evidence or documented proof. We must take it on faith. We must choose to believe, and for those that do, we find ourselves richly blessed; blessed with joy despite our circumstances, peace that passes all understanding, and hope in the promise of eternal life.
So no more pouting. No more doubting. Let’s learn from Thomas. Trust and believe, rest and receive.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27 – NIV
O Lord Jesus, thank You for loving us regardless of our flaws and failures. Thank You for showing up in our lives, for leading us back when we lose our way. Forgive us when we doubt and fear. Help us instead to stand on our faith and follow You always.