Thomas, the disciple of Jesus, is best known for doubting Jesus’ resurrection and appearance. Not a good thing to be famous for, is it?
But what if there’s so much more to the story? What if there’s a reason behind Thomas doubting Jesus, which will lead you to be more empathetic?
Take a look at this setting: Israel, under the rule and oppression of the Roman Empire, had suffered a great deal, leading many Jews to detest the empire and anyone who swore loyalty to it. Then came Jesus who appeared to be the promised Messiah that would save Israel. Naturally, under these circumstances, it wouldn’t be surprising if people believed that Jesus would free Israel from the Romans, and then establish a new physical kingdom for the Jews. After all, wasn’t this the way that God, in the past, had used judges/prophets to save and restore Israel?
After what was considered a triumphant entry into Jerusalem where Jesus was proclaimed the Son of David, Jesus’ death was a huge blow that dashed many hopes. Can you blame Thomas for hesitating to believe again that this same Jesus was back to possibly finish what they thought He’d started? There’s something about hope not fulfilled, especially when that hope has been hurt time and time again (and the Jews had apparently been hoping for a long time). In the absence of evidence, it becomes difficult to build back up.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).
If hope will be resurrected, the person in question usually does so meticulously, with each building piece put together slowly and cautiously, and over a stretch of time, until it eventually gains steadiness and sturdiness—a status not easily achieved. Truth be told, it is much easier to inspire fresh hope than to rebuild one that has been destroyed.
When placed in a similar circumstance, are we any different?
Have you found yourself in a place where you’re sure God made specific promises to you and for a while now you’ve been looking out for the fulfillment of these heart desires? But every time it seems you’re on the right path, your hopes are dashed, and it seems a part of your dream dies each time this happens. Eventually, you get to a place where you don’t want to hear one more word of Scripture that promises fulfillment. You’ve become too weary in heart and in spirit to believe anymore “promises.” You’re sure that if you do so again, and it doesn’t work out, the pain of such a failure will kill you. You begin thinking it is better to lay aside those dreams, assume a faith that allows you to simply accept salvation in Jesus and the possibility of life outside of your dreams. Hope has become too painful for you to hold on to.
Is this you right now?
Then you’re not different from Thomas.
Has God failed to fulfill His promises? No, He hasn’t. What you may not see right now—like Thomas and the Jews—is that the fulfillment of God’s promise to you is so much more than what your desire originally conjured. Believe it or not, God’s promise to you is not just about you. With God, there’s usually a bigger picture; you have a role to play in the grand scheme of God’s masterplan. This was the same with Abraham (who didn’t live to see all of God’s promises fulfilled) and the other greats.
Israel desired freedom, and so wanted a king that would overthrow their human enemy—the Romans. God, instead, sent them a Messiah that brought salvation and victory over their ancient and original enemy, the devil. God magnified Israel’s desire into one that included the rest of the world, and with victory over an enemy more powerful than the Romans, and this victory would last forever. Thomas hadn’t yet realized this, and a lot of times, we react in the same way in similar situations. We presume that the benefits of our heart desires are solely ours, forgetting that we play a role in God’s great plan. Then when we set out on the wrong path to achieve these dreams and they fail, our faith in God gets destroyed. It may be that the path we’re on isn’t the wrong one, but rather, we’ve arrived at a place where it’s time for a change or the path ends in a form that we never imagined, which may present as a tragedy; when we don’t seek God’s wisdom to understand the meaning behind the events, we lose hope in the face of this tragedy. This is what happened to Thomas (and the other disciples).
Whatever of the above category that you belong to, why not seek God’s heart and His way? You may discover that He’d been pointing you in the right direction all along, but you either weren’t paying attention or may have been too much in a hurry to gain a status of success. Perhaps, God wanted you to climb to your place of victory slower so that you can gain the humility, discipline, and wisdom that will preserve you and the blessing that He longs to give you, but your zeal, which ran without God’s direction, led to you failing.
“It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and [then] miss the way. A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord” (Proverbs 19:2-3).
“To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue. All a man’s way seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. The Lord works out everything for His own ends—even the wicked for a day of disaster…in his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:1-4,9).
Why not seek God’s face, trust His instruction, and follow in obedience. You will discover a richer and more blessed life, one that is filled with peace, righteousness, and other virtues that honor God!
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather, healed” (Hebrews 12:11-13).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
About the Editor
Miranda A. Uyeh is the founder and editor of To Be A Person (TBAP), the author of Christian Romance/Suspense fiction, To Die Once: Child of Grace #1, a Mogul Global Ambassador, and a copywriter. She was a one-time shortlisted judge for the Inspy Awards in 2014 in the Contemporary Romance & Romance/Suspense Category. In 2016, Miranda was honored to be one of 500 book reviewers across the world invited to help launch Tim Tebow’s book, Shaken.
When Miranda isn’t reviewing books/entertainment or hosting interviews on TBAP, she’s writing, reading for fun or relaxing with a good movie! When she gets bored with the world, she talks to God about it! To learn more about her book, To Die Once, and her journey as an author, you can follow her author website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.
The article I Am Thomas first appeared on To Be A Person (TBAP).