(Recommended Reading – John 20:1-31)
“But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, ‘We saw the Master.’ But he said, ‘Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.’ Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, ‘Peace to you.’ Then he focused his attention on Thomas. ‘Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.’ Thomas said, ‘My Master! My God!’ Jesus said, ‘So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.’” (John 20:24-29 MSG)
The above passage was the focus for three days as I read my daily devotionals. These times, as well as every other time I have read that story, I was puzzled why Thomas had such a lack of faith and could not believe what the other disciples told him about having seen Jesus. He was one of the original chosen twelve disciples that ministered with Jesus; and, I would assume that he saw the many miracles that Jesus performed, including raising Lazarus from the dead. So why was it so difficult for him to believe Jesus had been resurrected and then presented Himself to those He knew best?
As I reflected on that, I thought about my own experiences with the Lord Jesus and pondered the fact that I do not recall ever having doubted the Bible and all that is within it. For some reason it was just easy for me to accept it as truth. As I look back, it just seems as though God was always with me in some special kind of way, even when I did not realize it.
My only memories of church before I turned 7 years old were just dressing up and going with my parents to church on Easter. I do not recall going at any other times nor do I recall ever being taken to Sunday school. The summer I turned 7, my family moved from Lubbock, Texas to a small town northwest of there. We were initially renting a house that just happened to be about two blocks from a large church. I told my parents that I wanted to go to that church. So they would take me up there on Sunday mornings to go to Sunday school. I went for a while but one Sunday the teacher said something that hurt my feelings and embarrassed me – I did not want to go back. I then asked to go to a different denominational church where I knew some of my schoolmates attended. So, my parents would drive me there for Sunday school. Again after a while, there was something that just did not gel with me and I did not want to go there anymore either. I finally asked them to take me to another denominational church where others I knew attended – they did take me and I finally found my happy place.
I can remember that when I went to church camp the summer I was in the 4th grade I was introduced to Jesus and accepted Him as my Savior. I believe it was on Palm Sunday four years later when I was baptized and became an official member of the church. I attended weekly and was active in the youth group when I became a teenager.
I would love to be able to tell you here that I was always obedient, well-behaved and moral in all that I did from there on out. But, I cannot do that. I probably was fairly typical as a child and a teen in that I would push the limits as far as I thought I could and get by. As an adult there were times that I was no better in my rationale about certain decisions. When I look back, I marvel that I did not have any truly bad things happen to me that could have drastically changed my life forever. I frequently thank God for the fact that He protected me from myself and my bad decisions so many times.
Thomas walked with Christ, heard Him teach wonderful and powerful messages and witnessed Him perform many miracles, yet doubted. I, as a 7 year old child, did not doubt and still to this day have not doubted that Jesus is who they say He is nor have I doubted that the Bible is the indisputable Word of God. It is something of a puzzle for me at times.
But when I kept thinking about it, I remembered these verses: “People brought their small children to Jesus so that he could lay his hands on them to bless them. But the followers told the people to stop bringing their children to him. Jesus saw what happened. He did not like his followers telling the children not to come. So he said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people who are like these little children. The truth is, you must accept God’s kingdom like a little child accepts things, or you will never enter it.’ Then Jesus held the children in his arms. He laid his hands on them and blessed them.”
Think about that. Little children are so innocent and so trusting that they just easily accept things. They believe what you tell them and do what you want them to do. Those verses above tell us that that is how we are to be when it comes to God – simply accept, believe and obey. It really is not complicated at all. As Jesus said to Thomas, “‘Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.’”
This is where faith comes into play. I realize that faith can be a hard thing to comprehend. But, I like the way the Amplified Bible presents Hebrews 11:1b – “…faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses.” We cannot be limited by what we can physically see and hear – we just have to believe, to trust. Chris Tiegreen says this: “Those who depend too heavily on their eyes will miss the blessings that come only by faith.” Then he asks this: “How much of your walk with God is based on your five senses? Do you invest your heart in Him only when He is demonstrating His favor? Or do you trust that His love is real even when you don’t see it?…Believe, and be blessed.”
What we all need to learn to do is just do not doubt, then approach God with the innocence of a child and believe.
Written by Karran Martin – July 12, 2022
[All emphasis is mine]