Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Of all the apostles, I can associate most with Thomas, doubting Thomas. Maybe the fear the apostles shared in the upper room had more to do with the fear associated when something goes really wrong. Not only were they afraid of what could happen to them for being associated with Jesus, but their hearts were confused with doubt. Hope was gone. Jesus was their hope.

What would have been going through their minds? I fell asleep in the garden when he needed my support. I ran off in fear when they came and arrested Jesus. I did not accompany him on his walk to Calvary. I was not there at the Crucifixion. I abandoned Him. He is dead, the Messiah is dead. How could the Messiah allow himself to be killed? “And I will rise on the third day.” Would he? Could he? He has left us here, alone, abandoned. Was he going to come back as he said he would? What are we to do now? Jesus was to be their next king, the Messiah. All of their hopes and dreams had ended with his cruel death. Empty inside is how they must have felt.

Mary said that he had indeed risen from the dead. Could it be true? Jesus appears. “My beloved friends, peace be with you.” He really did not leave them. Jesus did not abandon them, he never would. This was going to take some time to sink in. Thomas not being there must have been puzzled to see and hear the other apostles so excited when he got back. They said Jesus had been there to eat with them. They saw His hands and His side where the soldiers had pierced Him, and He spoke to them. This was too hard for him to believe. How could He be alive? Finally he tells his friends, "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 won’t believe it."

A week later Jesus comes back. “Peace be with you.” He turns to Thomas. “Thomas, come touch my hands, my feet, my side. Stop doubting, believe. You believe because you see, how happy are those who believe without seeing.” He did not rebuke him, instead he extended himself to him so that he could touch him and receive the forgiveness he so desperately needed. All was forgiven.

Love heals. God’s love is sure and certain and it lasts forever, once given it is never withdrawn, it is eternal. When we wallow in guilt and remorse over past sins, we demean God’s gift of grace. When we learn to gratefully and generously forgive ourselves, we will know joy and peace. A sad Christian is a fake Christian and a guilty Christian is no Christian at all. God writes straight with crooked lines.

Doubt seems to affect us most when we experience what we consider as God disappointing us. When we can’t understand why things happen, when nothing around makes any sort of sense, when we look for God and we experience his absence. We wonder why? I try to do what you ask, hard as it is and still you allow these things to happen. Why? Is it worth it all? Are you worth it? We start to doubt, we feel angry and abandoned.

Doubt and fear are a part of life. God gave us this brain that is very capable of having doubts. We all have a bit of Thomas in us, a strange mix of doubt and fear, pessimism and optimism, belief and unbelief. When my doubts and fears make me feel small, weak, powerless, I have the hope that Jesus will do for me, in HIS own time and way, (that’s the hard part), what he did for his friends in the upper room. Sure it does not seem so at the moment, but one day when I look back, I will see the weaving of God, God’s handiwork on it all and realize that he was indeed there… hidden and mysterious through it all and I will be eternally grateful. So I find comfort with my broken self, faults, failings and all and cling to the hope that if he can do it for Thomas, there may be hope for me yet.