27.4.14

You Missed It! (Encouraging the Doubters)

by Sally Matheny
It Was Awesome and You Missed It!
         “You missed it!”
     Don’t you hate hearing those words? Perhaps you went to get a hotdog, and missed the best play ever made at home plate—by your child—the one who hasn’t scored a run in three years. Everyone kept exclaiming how awesome it was. 

And... 
you missed it!


     Or maybe you had plans to meet some friends at a restaurant. At the last minute, you decided not to go. You had your reasons. But they didn’t seem so great when you heard about your friends' spectacular evening.

    A celebrity ate at the table beside them. An exciting conversation took place, the celebrity treated them to desserts, and they each received free tickets and backstage passes to his upcoming concert. Each of your buddies called to tell you their version of the incredible evening. And...
you missed it!
     We’ve all had sinking moments like this. Don’t feel bad. Even one of Jesus’ disciples, Thomas (a.k.a Didymus) missed the most amazing miracle of all time.
     Three days after Jesus died on a cross, all of his disciples, except for Thomas, sat in a room together. The doors were locked for fear of persecution. Bewildered by recent events—the death of Jesus, finding his tomb empty, and news that a few had actually seen Jesus alive—the disciples were overwhelmed.
     Suddenly, Jesus appeared among them comforting them with words of peace! Awestruck by Jesus’ pierced hands and feet, they first thought he was a ghost, until they saw him eat food. Everyone knows ghosts can't eat food. Jesus also spoke to them and opened their minds so they could understand. And they believed.
     All except Thomas.
     Where in the world was Thomas? Was it his turn to retrieve water from the well that day? Did he send a message to the rest of the guys that he needed a day off? Perhaps he awoke that morning with a headache from all the stress. 

Whatever the reason, Thomas missed it.    
     Assuredly, Thomas had to listen to each, of his ten friends, share their personal experience of what happened. While Thomas’s heart was still grieving and his confused mind reeling, he must have endured quite a bit. 

Who knows? It's possible Thomas had to put up with  Luke’s constant, beaming grin, Matthew's singing at all hours, or John’s spontaneous praise dancing! 
     Did Thomas think all ten men hallucinated at once? Was he angry? Did he put on an attitude of bitterness? All we know for sure, is Thomas said he would not believe until he saw Jesus’ scars and touched the spear-penetrated side himself.

     Ever since then, and for the rest of time, he’ll be remembered as “Doubting Thomas.” Poor Thomas. 

Do you doubt the power of Christ?
     Perhaps, there is something else to consider. Even though Thomas had his doubts, he did not turn from God. He did not flee from the disciples. The enthusiastic sincerity of his friends compelled him to hang around. 

     Perhaps the other disciples showed empathy to Thomas, encouraging him to remember the words Jesus’ spoke during his ministry on earth. Recollecting their own qualms, they showed Thomas kindness and loved him with grace. Maybe they continued to remind Thomas of all Jesus’ miracles they had witnessed.
    What if, every night, while the others slept in peace, Thomas cried out to the Lord to help him remember, to help him believe?  
     A whole week passed—10,080 minutes.    
     Between listening to the accounts of the miraculous event, over and over again, and lying awake at night trying to make sense of it all, I bet most of those 10,080 minutes Thomas struggled.
     Although skeptical, Thomas still stayed close to the disciples. All he knew was when he left his friends they were fearful and confused, and the next time he saw them they were drastically changed--full of joy and anticipation. Whatever wonderful thing happened to them, Thomas wanted it, too. He was on the brink of believing.
     Then, it happened. One week later Jesus appeared to the disciples again and this time, Thomas was there.
Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.
(John 20:26-27, NIV)

     By then, Thomas did not need to touch Jesus’ scars. As Christ came across the room, Thomas allowed Him to come into his heart. He believed and cried out, “My Lord, and my God!” 

Don't give up sharing your faith.
     Is there someone you know who is struggling like Thomas? Perhaps he expresses his doubts yet, he still hangs around, intrigued by the way you live your life; fascinated by your sincere belief that Jesus is alive and rules in your heart.
     You’ve repeatedly shared your Christian beliefs. No matter how wonderfully you present the gospel, you cannot make him believe. Keep praying and allow the Holy Spirit to work. Don’t give up.

     Perhaps your friend realizes he’s missing something exciting and miraculous. He is on the brink of believing.




     Share with us. Have you had an experience with a “doubting Thomas”?


2 comments:

  1. Sally:

    Your last three paragraphs were an encouraging reminder that we should never give up on our friends, even family members, who are on the brink of believing. Come Holy Spirit, help me show them the way.

    Thanks again for your inspiring words.

    Gratefully,

    Richard Havenga http://walkwithfathernature.blogspot.com/2014/04/pope-john-paul-ii.html

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Richard. It's true. I know of one woman who prayed and showed loving grace to her husband for over twenty years. She didn't give up. He took the leap of faith and chose Jesus as his Lord and Savior last year.

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