“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand in to his side, I will not believe it. John 20:25
I know firsthand the power of unbelief. I know from experience what Thomas must have felt. Here he has been told Jesus is alive, but he doesn’t believe. He wants proof, he wants evidence. He wants to see and touch Jesus. Before we go and give Thomas a hard time, we must remember that the disciples weren’t quick to believe either. If you remember Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene and when she comes and tells the disciples, the Bible tells us in Luke 24:11, that they did not believe because her words seemed as utter nonsense. We know Peter and John ran to the tomb, so like Thomas even they wanted to see for themselves.
I can’t tell you the number of times I have struggled with unbelief. Times I have known in my head the Lord cares, that He is in control, that I can trust Him and yet times when I have wanted evidence, wanted proof, wanted to see Him working. If we are all honest, I’m sure we have all had days like this. Sometimes believing Jesus, believing His Word are just hard. Sometimes when life is hard and days are dark, having faith is next to impossible.
So as we think about Thomas, lets not be too quick to judge. Thomas like the others has just watched Jesus be arrested, beaten, crucified and placed in a tomb. For reasons we don’t know, He was not with the other disciples when Jesus came and appeared to them after his resurrection. The others had seen Jesus, they had talked to Him and they had seen His hands and His side. Yet, Thomas was not there.
Sometimes life is just hard and it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes the problems seem overbearing and we can’t imagine any way out. It is at such times, when like Thomas we struggle to believe and we long for evidence that the Lord is at work.
Yet, the Bible tells us that a week later, Thomas and the other disciples are in the house again and though the doors are locked, Jesus comes and stands in their midst. Then He comes to Thomas and says, “Put your finger here, see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.
Don’t you just love the great mercy of our God. He didn’t have to appear to Thomas, He could have left Him in His doubt. Yet, He comes again and shows Himself to Thomas. He could have ridiculed Thomas, but in love He tells him to stop doubting and to believe.
The same has been true in my own life. It seems the times I have been struggling to believe the most, are the times when I like Thomas have wanted proof that God was at work. And like Jesus did for Thomas, the Lord shows Himself mighty unto me and speaks in that still small voice, stop doubting and believe! I don’t deserve His great mercy and yet I am ever thankful for it. Yet, each time He shows Himself mighty, after I have had a meltdown of unbelief, I am left feeling ashamed. How I could once again doubt my Lord who always proves Himself faithful and true. How thankful I am that He knows that I am but dust and that He is such a gracious and loving God who is faithful indeed.
If you are struggling to believe today, I want you to encourage you to stop doubting and believe. Our Lord can be trusted. He is good and He is love. He cares for you and see’s what you are going through. He knows the number of hairs on your head and His thoughts for you outweigh the number of sand on the shores. You are special and important to Him. He see’s what you are going through and He understands your pain. The Lord is right there with you, just believe!