My friendship with Jackie wasn’t instant, but I remember the first meaningful conversation we had. I know she does, too. I asked her full name and the full names of her children. She was named after Jacqueline Kennedy! I think the name fits well, because of Jackie’s dark-haired beauty, and because of her resilience. She has experienced so much hardship, but she is able to rise, forgive, and move forward.
In our conversation we discovered that we both have children whose middle names are Thomas. I told Jackie the story of Thomas, one of the earliest followers of Jesus. After Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to his disciples, but Thomas wasn’t there. “So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But [Thomas] said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hands into his side, I will not believe it.’”
“A week later [Jesus’s] 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!’ 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.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’”
What Jackie and I love about this story is that Jesus welcomed Thomas’s doubts. He let Thomas touch his wounds. Then Thomas was the first disciple to announce that Jesus is God incarnate.
I am so thankful that we can be honest about our doubts with each other and with God. A line in a song I heard long ago says this as a prayer, “I want to thank you…for the faith to doubt and yet believe that You’re really there.” Joni Eareckson Tada
Application: Dear friend, doubts are not something to hide, but something to uncover to trusted friends and to God. Weary friend, don’t carry the burden of doubts about God or about the hardships you are experiencing alone. I would love for you to share those doubts with me, using the contact page of this blog.
What doubts do you need to uncover to God? How can you nurture faith that believes even what it doesn’t fully understand?
The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey