These final few posts are looking at 6 encouragements from the example of Jesus’ interaction with Thomas:
6) You are more blessed than Thomas
Verse 19, ‘Jesus said to [Thomas] “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”’
In typical ‘Jesus style’ he speaks a beatitude that turns human wisdom on its head. ‘Seeing is believing’ according to our regular idiom. But no, Jesus says you’re more blessed if you haven’t seen.
This verse is a big comfort to me, because Jesus doesn’t rebuke Thomas for doubting. It was understandable that Thomas would doubt. If he’d just shrugged his shoulders at the idea that a dead man had returned to life, we ought to think him naive, stupid, or scientifically ill-informed! Of course he would doubt! How much more understandable is it that we, thousands of years on, having not had the opportunity to physically see Jesus will also have doubts and questions?
Thomas was called blessed for seeing and believing. How much more blessed will we be when we, by the grace of God, overcome doubts without seeing. As is so often the case, it’s the kind of blessing we only realise with hindsight. But it’s worth holding out for.
Clearly there is far more that could have been said. Many books, talks, seminars, blogs have been dedicated to the subject in far more detail than this – But I’m bored now. I want to blog about something else!*
But in summary: If you are doubting, seek evidence. Take practical steps to find answers. Surround yourself with people who will help you. Ask questions, read books, listen to talks. Be disciplined about it. Don’t forget that we have a God who knows what you need even before you ask. Trust Him. Ask God to give you His peace and to pour His Spirit upon you. It will calm your troubled heart immeasurably. Use your doubts for mission. See them as God given tools for equipping you to extend the grace of God to others. Hold out for the blessing that is coming to you who overcome doubts.
In Luke 24:41 there is a similar story where Jesus reveals himself to the disciples. At the moment of revelation there is this curious phrase: ‘they still disbelieved for joy and were marvelling.’ Reflect on that – They disbelieved for joy and were marvelling. I pray that your disbelief would give way to joy. That you would be struck afresh by the revelation of God that leaves you marvelling. If we knew everything, we would have no cause to trust and be amazed by this almighty God.
Let your doubts fuel your worship.
*I’m kidding… sort of. But if you want to read more, why not start here – a blog by fellow Newfrontiers blogger Phil Duncalfe