24 Thomas, the one called Didymus, one of the Twelve, wasn’t with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples told him, “We’ve seen the Lord!”
But he replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger in the wounds left by the nails, and put my hand into his side, I won’t believe.”
26 After eight days his disciples were again in a house and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus entered and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand into my side. No more disbelief. Believe!”
28 Thomas responded to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus replied, “Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe.”
When reading the story of Jesus’ disciple, Thomas, I can hear myself and my family within these words. I come from a family of “Academics”: some are science-types, while others are schooled in understanding all that is logical and mathematical. I even have a brother, Tom, whom I think of every time I reread this text. There are also many doubters who are legendary within the Bible who become God’s servants. So the disciple, Thomas, and any of us who are “doubters” are in good company. While Thomas is often criticized for his disbelief, how many of us would have done or thought just the same? I know I certainly would have wanted to see Jesus and his scars to believe in his Resurrection.
Of course, Jesus’ words bless those who believe even when they don’t see: “Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe.” This is the measure of what faith really is. It is the faith that we aspire to. Yet, Jesus also responded to Thomas’ questions. Come and see, beacons Jesus. “Put your finger here. Look at my hands….”
Our God’s love for us is big enough to handle our deepest doubting. I use the word “doubting” as an action verb, because we probably all actively “doubt” from time to time. Even if we don’t doubt our Lord, maybe we doubt our own capability to trust and know the Almighty. But our God’s love is large enough to know that through our questions and doubts there is also an ongoing conversation that supports us knowing our Lord and our path.
Whenever we are in doubt, do we take those doubts to our God? Do we share our doubts with others who share the faith? Do we stay in connection even through our uncertainty?
Maybe we don’t have Jesus right in front of us, as Thomas did. Yet, nowhere does Jesus say to Thomas, “Because you doubt me, well, forget you!” Instead, Jesus knows that Thomas wants to know him and to believe. Thomas wants to stay in connection with and through God and the other believers. Thomas wants to battle through his unbelief to find faith. So should we all!
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
When you are struggling with doubt, how and when do you talk to your Savior? In your doubts, do you trust enough to stay present and talk through your doubts – both with God and other believers?
Prayer: Lord, Jesus, when I am uncertain, help me to turn my doubts to you. Let me know that I am not alone, but let me hear you through my concerns. Amen.