By The Rev. Bob Holland
Soon after Jesus had resurrected, we find a beautiful account found in John chapter 20 that is a wonderful example of how much God loves us and desires to help us. The friends and family of the Messiah were gathered together after his horrific crucifixion and were still grieving over his death when suddenly, He appears in their midst. Even though they remembered how He had promised to return I’m sure they were still awestruck. Jesus stretches out His hands and reveals His wounds, and of course, they are overjoyed to see Him again. He spoke peace over them, commissioned them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, then vanished. Thomas was not there that night and later when he returned he was told that Jesus had visited them. He responded that until he saw Jesus with his own eyes, he would not believe. Eight days later the group came together again and like last time Jesus miraculously appeared except this time Thomas was present. Christ looked at Thomas and told him to reach out and touch the scars, and he did. Jesus said, “Be not faithless, but believing,” and Thomas replied, “My Lord and my God.” When we are discouraged and struggling to believe, we can know that God will make an extra effort to prove how much he loves and cares about us. Have you ever needed Jesus to inject faith into your doubt? Are you feeling the heaviness of fear and discouragement today? You see, Thomas is not the only person who ever doubted. Actually, he’s a perfect example of you and I. God realizes how hard it is for us to believe. Yes, Thomas had a chance to literally see Jesus, but does this mean we will not believe? This is where faith understands that just because we cannot see and touch Christ, does not mean He is not there. In verse 29 we read, “Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: but blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Trusting God is having the ultimate optimistic and positive attitude, as faith is choosing to believe there is a way when there seems to be no way. Trust is paying tithes when we only have a small amount of money in the bank. Faith is resting in the promises that God’s word cannot fail. Yes, it’s difficult to demonstrate confidence in His infinite power and authority when all we can see is discouragement and hopelessness, but let us remember, not if – but when the Almighty intervenes in your situation, miracles happen and nothing is ever the same. I John5:4, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” So, how can we have more faith? We must consistently ask God to teach us how to believe. Faith is not only a source of spiritual hope and strength, but Hebrews 11:6 reminds us, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that approaches God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” In Acts chapter 16,we read that Paul and Silas were being held in a dark and dreary prison, yet they began to praise and worship the Lord. Why? Because joy is not confined to a geographic location, a mood, or a feeling, but is activated when the determination to trust God becomes stronger than the temptation to doubt. We cannot live in faith and fear at the same time. If we feed our faith, our fears will starve! These men made a choice to perceive reality with the eyes of their spirit instead of being controlled by their emotions and today we have the opportunity to do the same thing. Whatever trial we are facing, we use faith that we developed in the past as mountain-moving faith is not created in one day, but rather with a lifetime of learning. Our natural senses are associated with our emotions, but spiritual faith declares that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Humans tend to rely on their intelligence, but God wants us to place our confidence in Him. True peace comes from knowing that He is listening and moving on our behalf. Thomas Aquinas is quoted as saying, “To the one who has faith, no explanation is necessary, but to the one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
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