I am Thomas… The Life of a Doubter.
Posted On June 16, 2020
Doubting God’s Presence
I believe. It’s so hard to believe in a God that allows bad things to happen, it’s impossible sometimes to see the goodness that Christ offers us. Let’s just face it, sometimes each of us lives the life of Thomas, we are all doubters at some point.
Some days it’s easier to just live in our doubt, some days it’s easier to just walk in the misalignment of numbness. This isn’t how Christ intended us to live, he intended for us to walk steadfast in the knowledge of his presence. To live as Christ has called us we have to overcome the doubt of his presence. To do this, analytically, we have to understand what “doubt” is and come to terms with the knowledge and truth that doubt is not the same as disbelief.
Doubt by definition is the “uncertainty of belief or opinion that often interferes with decision making.” Disbelief is “the inability or refusal to accept that something is true”. Doubt is a step to disbelief, but it can also be a stepping stone to faith. The most famous ‘doubter’ we identify is Thomas, one of the original apostles and closest friends of Jesus Christ.
However, I pray that we will see Thomas in a new light and not see him as darkness of a doubter, but of someone who was amazed at the works before him; a man who didn’t allow the wonderment of Christ’s work come between him and his decisions, but rather a man filled of awe and wonderment that he was a witness to the glory of the Messiah.
We begin in the book of John, which illustrates for us the death of a man, Lazarus who was a beloved friend of Jesus. It is here that we first see the uncertainty of Thomas’ faith in the miracle Jesus has prepared not just for those closest to him, but for all mankind.
Let’s take a moment and transport ourselves into the image created in the book of John, chapter 11 verses 1-45. Jesus receives the news of his good friend, via a message saying that Lazarus, his dear friend is ill. Christ’s response to the message is, “This sickness will not end in death, but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Instead of what most would do, and leaving immediately, Jesus stays two more days in the place where he received the message. The apostles are not exactly thrilled to find out that they will be returning to Judea. After all, it was mere days before that the Jews had thrown stones at them in that very place.
Jesus answered them stating that the time of the stoning had past, and that they would indeed be returning to the city. He says to them, “Our friend, Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I’m on my way to wake him up.” The disciples not knowing that Christ spoke of eternal sleep continued to try to deter Christ from returning.
Can you just imagine the groans from the men, I can hear Thomas speak almost in a sarcastic tone, “Let’s go so that we may die with him.” How could he have known the miracle that he was about to be a witness to? How could he have known the part that he would play in this story?
Surely, on the journey to Judea the men were filled with doubt, they didn’t understand what was about to be unveiled they just joined Jesus on a multiple day journey and arrive to a somber moment. A family sitting Shiva, mourning the loss of their beloved brother, Lazarus. At this time, Lazarus has been in the tomb for four days. Jesus speaks with the sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary cries unto him, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died!”
Perhaps one of the most prolific verses in the Bible takes place, “Jesus wept”. However, I suspect that his weeping was not due to the loss of his good friend, it was not sharing the sorrow for the family of Lazarus but rather, it the justified anger within him, not at himself but at the disbelief of those surrounding him.
Of course, Jesus felt the immeasurable sorrow of the family and friends standing before him, it is certain he felt their pain, but his pain was from a different source. Jesus knew that in mere moments he would be reunited with Lazarus. He knew that the most prolific of his created miracles was about to take place. So, the tears he wept couldn’t have been from mourning. I suspect that the weeping came from the dissapointment of watching the disbelief of those around him, his anger at the sins of the living which led to death and of the lack of hope in him the bystanders were displaying.
Christ then asked Mary to take him to the tomb of Lazarus.
It’s at this place, that we see the impossible. We see doubt overcome, and turn into certainty. I can close my eyes, and just imagine Thomas and the other disciples joining Jesus in prayer.
Thanking the father first, letting the almighty father know that his actions were not for human glory- not for his own glory, but for the glory of the father who sent his son.
I can hear Christ as he calls, “Lazarus, come out!” I can imagine the looks on bystanders faces, the sight of Thomas wonderment as his friend Lazarus took the first step out of the tomb covered in strips of linen. Imagine the whispers surrounding the crowd, for a moment “Is that…” “Did he?”
What are you doubting today?
Write a prayer laying these doubts at the feet of Christ, just as Mary wept about the death of Lazarus. Read John 11:1-46 How has Christ shown you through today’s scriptures that he has overcome doubt?