Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him,“We have seen the LORD!” But he told 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 it.”
John 20:24-25

Doubting Thomas? Really? It is easy to give him this nickname but what caused the doubt? To me, Thomas was not so much doubting but he was grieving. He was devastated. Thomas had been ‘all in.’ He had been with Jesus for three years of hearing, seeing, and touching Jesus. He had been there for the miracles and fully believed Jesus was the answer to all, to
hope and to a future. In John 11:16 when Jesus had been counseled against returning to Jerusalem but turned His face toward it, Thomas said, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” All in! In John 14:5, Thomas asks the question on everyone’s mind, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Which introduced the foundational verse 6, where Jesus declared He was the way, and the truth, and the life. Thomas wanted all to follow Jesus.

But Jesus was dead. Hope was gone. All Thomas had believed and lived for was over. He was bereft of everything. Bereft comes from the word to bereave when done by force. Nothing remained and perhaps in his grief there was also shame and guilt because he was one of those who had fled the Garden in fear when Jesus was arrested. This pain was intense in every way, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Perhaps when the other disciples proclaimed Jesus’ resurrection, he could not dare hope it was true because going through that pain again would be unthinkable. Can we who have felt this pain to some degree give Thomas grace for doubting, even trying to protect himself? He was afraid of risking that again. But God knew exactly what Thomas needed.

In just eight days, the verse from Psalm 30:11 would be true for Thomas,
“You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.”
It was not wrong for Thomas to react as he did; the Lord does not condemn us for doubting or grieving. He is present with us even when we don’t feel His presence. Ponder the promise that you find in these lyrics from a Jeremy Camp song called There Will Be a Day:

But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings There will be a place of no more suffering. There will be a day with no more tears, With no more pain and with no more fears. There will be a day when the burdens of this place Will be no more and we’ll see Jesus face to face.

Francie Overstreet

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