Detours And Doubting Thomases
By: Terena Fouts
When we get assurance about something, it gives us a feeling of confidence and trust. That assurance causes us to have a level of expectation about things and takes away fear of the unknown. We can look forward to what lies ahead of us and so we have a plan in place. But changes can come along that may mean adjustments have to be made to what we had planned. Maybe that’s part of the reason why most people don’t like change.
Too bad because the world around us is always changing. Our family changes, our friends change, our cars change, our jobs change, our circumstances change. The only thing we can count on not to change is God. Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Change can take us from the road we were on to a detour where things around us don’t look familiar. Some detours are short while other detours seem to be taking us too far out of the way – too far from our original plan. Our confidence shrinks, replaced by doubt as we think we’ll never get where we were headed.
We all know the story of Doubting Thomas – when Jesus was arrested and crucified, the road Thomas and the other disciples had been on for 3 years changed. Disciple Thomas became Doubting Thomas. When the other disciples told Thomas they had seen the resurrected Jesus, he doubted and said in John 20:25 “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 will not believe it.”
Doubting Thomas didn’t want the assurance of the other disciples. He wanted to see and hear from Jesus himself. Doubting Thomas didn’t see Jesus then but Jesus was still there with him. Doubting Thomas didn’t hear Jesus then, but Jesus heard him. Jesus was on the detour with Thomas.
A week later the resurrected Jesus appeared again, this time to all the disciples and He stood in front of Thomas and said in John 20:27 Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe. Jesus could have simply said to Thomas, ”Thomas, It’s me Jesus.” But instead He spoke specifically to what Thomas had said the week before - what it would take to remove his doubt. Jesus told Thomas to look at his hands, feel the scars. Jesus is always with us, even during those times of change and doubt.
Don’t let the detour change you! Before Jesus died Thomas was willing to follow the Master anywhere, even if it meant being killed himself. We see this when the disciples tried to talk Jesus out of returning to Jerusalem when Lazarus died, because many of the Jews there wanted to kill Jesus. But Jesus was going with them or without them and it was Thomas who spoke up and said, John 11:16 “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
As long as Thomas could see Jesus, he was loyal and faithful – not afraid. But after Jesus died and the road he was on took a detour, Thomas doubted. It’s good that the Bible recorded the story of Doubting Thomas because it shows us that it’s OK to have doubts. Doubt is just a sign that we are struggling – it doesn’t mean we are giving up, just unsure and looking for answers.
The writer of Hebrews tells us how to get and keep the assurance we want and make our faith stronger.: Hebrews 10:22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings.
Have a Blessed Week!