24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “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.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 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.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
I feel a little bit bad for Thomas. He has been and forever will be The Doubter. Poor guy.
Frederick Buechner once said, “Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.”
During this past week, one of our teaching pastors brought up that there are two kinds of doubts- head doubts and heart doubts. As I walk through this season of Lent, my heart has been feeling this tension.
I have questions surrounding the Holy Spirit’s work in peoples’ lives. How can two people be following hard after Christ but both “hear” two different things? How do large groups of Christ-followers get deceived by a charismatic leader? Where is the Helper that Jesus promised? How can we ever be sure that we’re following the Spirit and not our own whims?
I have questions surrounding the centrality of love in the message of Jesus and the mission of the church. To be so honest, the World Vision fiasco has thrown me for a loop. What is true religion? Being holy or helping the widow and orphan? What happens when these two things stand in stark contrast to one another? Who wins? Who loses? Did God tell people to stop supporting these kids (over 10,000 of them)? Is God more concerned with a theological stance than the everyday lives of thousands of children all over the world? These questions freak me out and make my heart drop to the pit of my stomach.
So, during this Lenten season, I bring these questions to God. I say “I believe” and “help my unbelief” all in the same breath. I so long for God and the hope of His resurrection, but like Thomas, my heart is saying- I need to see you. Not what people think of you. Not what people say that you are telling them. I need to know that you are good. I need to be reminded that you speak to us. I need to know that you are love. I need all of these things to keep moving forward.
I trust that these doubts are just the ants in my pants to keep me drawing closer to God, seeking Him, reflecting on my heart and my behavior. I don’t have to pretend these doubts do not exist, nor do I need to be embarrassed or fearful of them….after all, they keep me coming back to Him.