Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29 (NIV)
Thomas, at times, gets a bad wrap. He wasn’t in the room in which Jesus walked through the wall. He wasn’t there at the empty tomb, nor at the crucifixion, because as Jesus told them all; each would desert Him (Mark 14:27).
Admittedly so, to abandon a friend in His darkest hour is positively low, but then, each of the disciples are fulfilling what Jesus said would happen. Knowing this may have been unsettling when it was actually coming to pass – but it did not stop them. Nothing stops the Sovereign plan of God. Nothing.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BELIEVE?
This issue at hand is belief. What exactly does this word mean and entail?
According to 1828 Webster’s Dictionary: BELIE’F, noun. 1. A persuasion of truth, or an assent of mind to the truth of a declaration, proposition, or alleged fact, on the ground of evidence. 2. In theology, faith, or a firm persuasion of the truths of religion. 3. Religion; the body of tenets held by the professors of faith (BELIEF).
Notice important details in this definition – evidence, facts, persuasion of the truths. Thomas had the hard facts in front of him – Jesus. And he even touched the evidence – the nail-scarred hands and side. When he did, he believed.
Jesus acknowledges this belief; however, He commends and calls folks blessed if they believe without seeing or touching the evidence.
Not that Thomas would know this ahead of time, but I wonder if he was kicking himself for the rest of his life for not believing right away. Nor did the other disciples either, so he was in good company. Unbelief was the word for that day – Resurrection Sunday.
(This photo was taken over a year ago at my son's wedding - I'm wearing my boots and dancing the mother-son dance with the groom.)
I’ll admit I, too, struggle with belief. Believing my feet will fully heal so I walk, run, jump, cook, clean, laundry. I doubt at times my life will fully encompass things I enjoy. Yes, I enjoy farm chores and homemaking chores. I miss them tremendously. Feeding the pony just after sunrise. Gathering eggs. Scruffing the wool on our sheep. Getting my hands dirty in the garden and caring for the many plants and trees we have here on the farm. After two and a half years, I don’t even remember where we keep certain things. Sad.
My struggle is real. But, God is working on my heart to reveal the sin of unbelief. Yes, it is a sin. Because with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26), and this all means healing. When I doubt, I erase the promise and God’s goodness and His Sovereignty. When I doubt I put myself in the driver’s seat and take over. When I disbelieve, I put eyes on self and not on God. And when I deny the evidence of God’s Presence in my life, I basically negate Him.
Yes, I will agree I desire evidence I can see and touch. I want the physical evidence of God’s invisible touch. But where is my faith?
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
The Bible defines faith as confidence, hope, assurance in what we do not see - with our physical eyes. Having insight into the kingdom of God gives us eyesight to see and believe in God. Our faith gives us eyes to believe the Truth.
Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6)
When we believe, we believe in a person – Jesus. We believe we can have a relationship with Him and not have to have it all figured out. We believe God is leading our lives and we can be still and let Him direct.
Yes, this is Truth.
And yes, it is difficult at times.
That’s why we need faith – to keep going even we cannot see His face or touch His hand.
And we are called blessed because we don’t see.
Such a paradox; yet such a beautiful thing at the same time.
My belief, my faith is given to me by Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), He grows it and works it for my good. He gives us what we need and it’s a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9), and my role? To simply believe.
Will I continue to believe God is with me in my ongoing feet situation? Will I believe Coach that my feet will be stronger on the other side? Will I believe this will not go on forever? Will I testify to the good God is doing in the midst of this affliction? Will I be satisfied knowing I am blessed because I don’t see?
What about you? Do you have an area of unbelief in your life? A long-prayed for situation with no seemingly end in sight? Are you in a season of suffering and the prognosis isn’t favorable? Do you have unsaved loved ones who are missing the mark, daily? Are you not yet saved because of unbelief?
There is only one true remedy – Jesus Himself. As the father of the demon-possessed boy exclaimed, “I do believe; help me in my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24); do likewise.
Oh Father, our Truth. Our One and only Way. The evidence is there and may we have eyes to see – with the eyes of our heart. Belief is a choice, so may we choose to believe even when we cannot see. Increase our vision to know You more. Increase our ability to believe, see, know and have an abundance of faith in You. We want to please You with our faith (Hebrews 11:6). In the name of Your Son, Jesus. AMEN