In a recent study of the days following Jesus' death and resurrection, I found it interesting that on the evening of the resurrection, Thomas was the only one of the 11 disciples not gathered together. The other 10 were together, probably consoling each other, perhaps trying to encourage each other, trying to make sense of it all. This was the darkest time in their three-year history with Jesus, perhaps even the darkest time in their entire lives, yet Thomas was absent. Where was he? Why was he alone missing at this critical moment? Could it be that Thomas was so disillusioned by the events of the last three days that he had thrown in the towel?
If you read John 20:24-25, you find hard, bitter words flowing from Thomas' heart. You can almost hear the despair and lost hope. It's as if he was saying,“It wasn’t supposed to end this way. This is too much for me. It’s over. I’m done.”
And yet moments later, Jesus meets Thomas in his unbelief. He meets him at the very point of his defiance. He says to him, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
What I find so encouraging is that Thomas’ doubts didn’t separate him from God. Instead, God was willing to meet him in his doubt.
We mistakenly think our doubts separate us from God. That isn’t true! Wherever we struggle with doubt, God wants to meet us there.
- Maybe we waiver at times even believing that God is real. Christianity is under constant assault by those around us as being archaic and irrational. I have a friend who recently said she has to periodlically "reconstruct" the foundation of her faith in God. I've done the same thing. Yet God wants to show himself real to us and is willing to walk with us through that doubt.
- Maybe we have a hard time believing that God has really forgiven us, since we sometimes can’t forgive ourself. God wants to remind us of his perfect sacrifice for our sins.
- Maybe we have a hard time believing that God can really change us. Especially if we've struggled for a long time with a stubborn sin or an obstacle we've been unable to remove in our faith. God never gives up on us and wants to meet us in our discouragement.
Whatever our struggle of doubt is, and don’t worry, we all struggle with doubt in one way or another, know that Jesus’ willingness to engage Thomas in his doubt is the assurance that he will meet us in ours.