23 May 2008

Doubting Thomas

John 20:27: Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

This past Sabbath my mother and I were watching a Christian DVD that was depicting the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ and there was a scene where the disciple Thomas was telling the others, "yeah, I know you all said that YOU saw the Master, but until I see Him, I will not believe that He is alive." Now, of course, every believer is familiar with this story. We grow up being told, "don't be a doubting Thomas - take it on faith...just believe." [And that's when they throw the following verse in your face: "Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (John 20:29)

Ok, that's all well and good, but...

Is God really saying here that you are doomed if you don't just take things on blind faith? Shouldn't we be allowed to question Him if we have a doubt or a concern or just need an answer? I am not saying question EVERYTHING, but does it mean that I am not a "good Christian" if I have a question or two to ask my Father? I don't think so. I remember seven years ago when my paternal grandfather was dying from bone cancer. We just "happened" to be studying the story of Job at that time in church. I remember being encouraged by the fact that Job, who is often promoted as being the "perfect saint" - after all, even through horrible trials and tribulations, he was able to say, "even though He slay me, I will serve the Lord." - EVEN HE QUESTIONED GOD! And knowing that Job had questions helped me deal with the questions I was having seven years ago when my play father, Otis Taylor, died suddenly on the Friday after Thanksgiving, followed two months later by the death of my grandfather. I questioned why God would lay two great warriors for His kingdom to rest in such quick succession. I wondered why I was being deprived of two men in my life who'd always been supportive and spiritual compasses for me - gone, swiftly and suddenly.

But back to Thomas. What struck me about how Christ handled the situation is this: Christ knew that Thomas had a heart bent towards Him. That is exhibited by Thomas calling Christ "My Lord and My God" in verse 28 of the same chapter. He also knew that some of us occasionally need tangible proof of something before we believe it. Christ met Thomas where he was...a little lacking, but still willing to serve. Christ ALLOWED Thomas to do what he needed to do in order to believe. You need to touch my scarred hands, here they are. You need to touch my pierced side, here it is. What compassion, what love. Yes, there is a mild rebuke when Christ tells Thomas that are consequences to his lack of faith - Thomas missed out on a blessing for his disbelief, but that instance of faithlessness was not the end of Thomas' story - Praise God. Thomas went on to be a powerful witness of the gospel. I believe his story is included in the Bible for a reason. (and not just so it could be the subject of this blog.)

Have a happy, safe and blessed holiday weekend.

Be blessed.

No comments: