Monday, July 27, 2009
My Favorite Thomas
I have a nephew named Thomas who is the most agreeable teenager- always cheerful, capable, successful in his studies and athletic pursuits. I wonder, sometimes, if his temperament is prone to being basically trusting, optimistic, and therefore, a bit happy-go-lucky. This type of temperament probably has its weaknesses in other areas, perhaps; but certainly not in the area of being agreeable and quick with good will toward others.
I don't know what the historic famous Doubting Thomas was like, temperament wise- but we all know, from here to eternity, that he doubted. He really had a hard time acknowledging the risen Jesus as just that- risen.
Jesus told him "Stop doubting and believe" and I've been thinking, then, that maybe it's been quite unfair to always refer to him as Doubting Thomas when in reality, he became a real Believer. A big believer. So much so that they say he was the only Apostle to go outside and beyond the Roman Empire in order to proclaim the good news of the Gospel. Now, that's what I call a believing believer!
To go from being doubtful and not trusting to being trusting and believing is no small thing. It might just be one of the most herculean of accomplishments. It might just be the thing that I want most, right now, in my life. This is where I want to grow. I'm a believer- but I want to really believe, be quick to believe, and be ready to believe.
Another version words this admonition this way "Be not ready to disbelieve but to believe" giving us the understanding that there is an inner preparation we can do to become the kind of person who is quick to believe the things of God. Are you ready to believe? Or are there suspicions and fears in you that get activated every time you hit a faith situation requiring something more than rote procedures?
If God is moving in your life, one way you'll know He is has to do with the number of opportunities you seem to get to either believe for good, trust Him that He wants to help, see Him make a way where there seems to be no way. Count the number of problems you're facing, and you can also count the opportunities for miracles, for faith being activated, for God being pleased- because it's either trust Him that He's ready to take you successfully across this mountain of a problem or pull back in unbelief, think twice about all those verses proclaiming His love and care, and keep your eyes on the looming problem, and not on Him.
I can easily be a Doubting Thomas- but I've lately decided that I can also be- if I choose- the Thomas who went beyond the safe regions to go where no Apostle had gone before. I could be the one who started to doubt easily and decided that what good does that do? Doubting is easy. Doubting is something that comes naturally to us. But believing and trusting is for those who want something more powerful than every day mundane living.
I'm ready to believe God in such a way that I won't miss out on the chance to become something I know I should be: fierce in faith, committed to a higher path, in need of godly oxygen- because it's onward and upwards and there's no turning back. I have decided.