Seeing is not believing

Ann has called us to write about faith today, and I want to do that, but I think I am going to come in through the back door. I was impressed by what Mark Buchanan says about “Doubting” Thomas in his book Your God is Too Safe. Most people perceive the label “doubting,” when applied to Thomas, as a negative description, but Buchanan characterizes the disciple much differently. Buchanan takes his cues about the disciple’s true character from an earlier interaction with Jesus when Lazarus was sick in Bethany. Some of the disciples discouraged Jesus from going there because popular opinion was turning against him, but Thomas spoke up and said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” John 11:16

Buchanan says he believes Thomas wanted to see and touch so he’d have proof for what he thought might be so. He didn’t want a sentimental, sloppy or vague faith or one built on wishful thinking. He wanted a vibrant one that could stand the testing. He was, in all respects, a skeptic. A skeptic “looks at a matter closely, scrutinizes it, and takes great care to study it in minute detail.” A true skeptic is passionate about discovering the truth. What clinches for Buchanan Thomas’ honest inquiry is that Jesus tells him to look at his hands and touch the wounds. Thomas looks and when he sees, he does not have  to touch. He immediately worships, crying out, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:28

Today we live in a scientific world. It is a world of proofs and equations. It is not a sign of weakness to struggle with faith, in fact if there is no struggle there is most likely no substance behind a belief. “Faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 I will grant you that even if some had all the evidence in the world, they would not be brought to faith. There are those who will always require something more because seeing is not believing. After Jesus showed Thomas his nail-pierced hands, He said, “Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:27 Seeing was the catalyst, but Thomas had to make the transition to faith. I am thankful John recorded it all for my benefit.

I walk with Him this Wednesday because of the testimony of great forerunners of the faith,

Dawn

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8 comments on “Seeing is not believing

  1. Dawn, I love it when you look at the flip side of the coin!!! It makes me dig into my heart and brain just a little dipper than usual. I’ve always identified with Thomas. I think the poor guy got a bum rap down through the ages!!!!! At least he was honest, brave enough to voice before the others his bewilderment and “doubts” and to openly admit he was struggling with what was truth and what was not. I give him a LOT of credit for that. I have always thought that the people who don’t have any questions usually don’t have any answers to give either!

    I have doubted —- lots of times. But that word is so vague. For me, it was not “unbelief” types of doubts. My doubts were more about ME than they were about God, His Word, etc. If I hear a message or read a passage, and it doesn’t work in my life, I just can’t rest until I “get it.” Can you imagine Thomas (and the others) standing there looking at Jesus????? I try to put myself in that room and what I would have thought. A ghost? Was this His new, heavenly body? A spirit?
    Somebody playing tricks? I find it strange that Thomas was singled out and given the name, Doubting Thomas. All through the Bible, people have wrestled with God, asked questions, doubted His commands and warnings, promises of provision and protection, presence, etc.

    So my vote goes with Thomas. I’m right there with him, and I’m glad he asked the questions that I would have had if I had been there.

    Just really good stuff, Dawn!

    • Dear Cora,

      When Ann challenged us to write about faith today, I knew I wanted to share about doubt. The only people I know who have faith to move mountains practiced by moving mountains of doubt first. Both my sons and my one daughter really struggled. My sons are through the worst of their struggles. My one daughter is in the throes of it. I really see how asking the hard questions, though, makes them strong. For boys, I think it is imperative they have a strong male lead. My sons had their dad. Thank you, Jesus!

      Like you, I put myself in the Upper Room when Jesus just appears and I wonder. Who would I have been? I’d like to think I would have been Mary Magdelene, but Thomas may have been more my speed, cautious and slow…
      As usual, you made my post larger today.
      Thankfully,
      Dawn

  2. Hey – did that author read my series on Thomas before writing his book?!!!

    I heart Thomas – and the big thing is – Thomas NEVER. TOOK. THE PROOF.

    Jesus said “come, touch” – and Thomas never did – he just believed.

    I heart that our minds thought alike today Dawn – I bet they do that a lot – but now we have written proof ツ

    God bless!!

  3. Wow . . . I love that you and Craig were so in sync today. I love the definition of a skeptic and this line . . . “A true skeptic is passionate about discovering the truth”. So often “skeptic” is regarded as negative. This puts a whole new spin on things. Thanks for sharing, Dawn.

  4. Dear Andrea Dawn,

    I was shaken when I went to Craig’s blog this morning and saw his post. We were giving our own unique versions of the very same thing. It was like you and I on Monday–hearts beating as one. The skeptic description was from Buchanan’s book. It certainly does put a new spin on things, doesn’t it. The next time someone says they haven’t read the Bible because they are a skeptic is using the term incorrectly. A skeptic would have read the Bible cover to cover.

    Thanks for your words of life here,
    Dawn

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