John 20: 24–29
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 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.” 26 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!” 27 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.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (NIV)
When Jesus rose on the third day and appeared to the disciples, Thomas—one who had witnessed many miracles in his time with Jesus and followed him without question—had trouble understanding the account of the Lord’s rising. Even when Thomas sees the Lord, he must confirm that Jesus Christ himself has risen from the grave by putting his hand on Jesus’ wounds.
When I ponder this story, I am struck by the idea that Thomas must have spoken without thought after hearing of the Lord’s resurrection. It’s comparable to your expected reaction upon hearing that you landed your dream job or won the lottery. “I did not! That’s not possible! Is it?” I am also struck by how, in his immediate grief, Thomas must have been taken aback by the fact that his friend and savior lived, and that he was seeing Him again.
In life, we are confronted with the good, the bad, and the in-between. We roll with the punches and we accept what we need to accept. Sometimes, in the span of a day or even an hour, we feel happiness and sadness, or tremendous joy followed by great fear. As Christians, we look to our faith for strength and to God for guidance. Sometimes, however, when the fear is too great or the sadness too prolonged, we trip up. We doubt. We doubt ourselves, others, and God. Even when we have happiness in our lives, it can be hard to understand God’s intentions moment by moment. People who have been through a lot are always waiting for their misfortune to end, and those who feel as though they have not yet experienced the blessings that they desire, often abandon hope before they can allow it to take hold of their lives and their destinies.
Like Thomas, we all need to see for ourselves what life has in store for us. It is hard to blindly move on when we have either experienced turmoil—deaths in the family, illness, or financial trouble—or when we have experienced great joy that seems to demand a payment. In truth, we need to be armed at all times with the Word of God and carry with us the knowledge that if we hold steadfast to our faith, strive to be sincere in our prayer lives and love as Jesus would have us love, the doubt that we at times allow to consume us will begin to fade away.
If you have not had the opportunity to read my latest book, Dressed for Victory: Putting on the Full Armor of God, I encourage you to do so. We have to be ready for the arrows that will undoubtedly come our way that may cause us to doubt the faithfulness of God. Remember:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6: 10-11 NIV)