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Standing Firm in Doubt

One of the stories my dad loved to tell about me occurred when I was four. My older cousin John and I sat together after our family’s big Easter dinner, waiting patiently for our egg hunt to begin, examining the loot we’d found in our early morning Easter baskets.


John asked, “Hey, Gina, do you think the Easter Bunny is real?”


At the worldly age of four, I replied, “Nah. But I play along with them, otherwise, I might not get an Easter Bunny Basket.”


Is it any wonder I’ve always had a soft spot for Thomas?  


From our vantage point two thousand years on, we know the ending. We’ve heard how this story plays out, but Thomas and the disciples were working through these events in real time.


So I feel for the guy!


To me, Thomas’s healthy dose of skepticism seems to be an altogether reasonable response to some pretty crazy claims by the disciples.

 

After all, Thomas wasn’t there when the disciples encountered the Risen Christ! Now here they all come, happy as clams in tartar sauce, proclaiming that Jesus has, in fact, risen from the dead.

 

Who can blame Thomas for his doubts?

 

But here’s what I love about this bit of the Easter story.

 

Thomas has the courage to think for himself. He isn’t coerced into accepting the resurrection just because all his friends believe. For Thomas the extraordinary claims made by his friends necessitated extraordinary evidence, so despite considerable peer pressure, Thomas holds steadfast.

 

Standing firm in his doubts, Thomas asks God for what he needs: evidence.

 

He wants the same opportunity the other disciples have already had – the chance to see and experience Jesus for himself. He tells the disciples, “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.”

 

And. God. Hears. Him.

 

A week later, when Jesus comes through locked doors to stand among them, Thomas remains skeptical.

 

But Jesus greets them all: “Peace be with you.” He doesn’t say “Peace be with all y’all except that doubter, Thomas.”

 

Jesus doesn’t hang Thomas out to dry. He doesn’t wag his finger at Thomas and scold him for his disbelief.

 

Instead, Jesus empathizes with Thomas’s concerns. He understands the doubt. Speaking directly to Thomas, Jesus exhorts him, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.”

 

When Thomas looks for evidence to confirm his faith, God welcomes Thomas’s questions. The Risen Christ meets Thomas exactly where he is.

 

May it be so with us as we patiently entrust our doubts and questions and uncertainties to the One who gladly receives our questions answers them in due season.

 

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Help us to grow in Friendship with you, trusting in your plan for our lives. During times of doubt and uncertainty, remind us that you welcome our questions as we seek clarity. And as we go through our daily lives, remind us that you are Steadfast, that you are our God and we are your people. Amen.

 

Gina Prosch is an award-winning children’s book author, teacher, mentor, and entrepreneur. She has BAs in English and Humanities from Dana College and a MA from the University of Wyoming. Gina is the author of This Day’s Joy and Finding This Day’s Joy, a micromemoir and guided journal for adults.

Her work for children includes the Holly’s Choice series from Boys Town Press and the ELCA’s Davey and Goliath. She cohosted The OnlySchoolers Podcast, exploring the unique challenges of homeschooling only children, and co-authored two books on home education: A Homeschool Vocabulary and The Best Year Yet. Gina and her husband, award-winning author Richard Prosch, reside just outside Jefferson City, Missouri, where they are members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lohman.

 



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Gina,

Thank you for a wonderful post about doubt in faith. Doubt is what drives us to search for answers, and it is that doubt that confirms our faith in Christ when we recognize the truth in the answers God gives us.

Thomas was not alone in his doubts!

You have heard me preach on this gospel before noting that on the first Easter morning, "Mary Mag'dalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her." (John 20:18)

But none of the disciples believed, until that same evening when Jesus appeared to them in the locked room, and "When [Jesus] had said this, he showed them…


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