Believe | Devotion #2: What?
Holly Boston | Women’s Ministry Director
“Poor Thomas.” Though part of our Savior’s inner circle, he was and always will be defined by one statement: “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25). In other words, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Thomas will be known as “Doubting Thomas” for all eternity, or will he?
I have always felt like kin to Thomas: a pessimist, a skeptic, and a doubter. I have always viewed the glass as half empty. These characteristics are not the makings of a good Christian, or are they? When I received the email for my next writing assignment, I was elated because I was asked to write about “Doubting Thomas.” Suddenly the purpose of the last year of my life made sense. All the pain, the betrayal, the loss, the financial calamity, and the health scare finally had a purpose. I have spent the last year fighting doubt, and now I have an opportunity to share all that I have learned. I can share how again and again I have repented of my doubt, chosen to believe, and seen the goodness of God (Psalm 27:13). But I needed more. So, I began to do some more research, and it was then that God changed my world.
My research took me to John chapter 11, where I saw a courageous Thomas; willing to return to Jerusalem with Jesus and die with him (verse 16). Then it took me to John chapter 14, where I saw a truth seeker and faithful follower, with a desire to go wherever Jesus would lead (verse 5). What a difference a day makes. I have gone from fighting being a “Doubting Thomas” to a desire to emulate “Courageous and Willing Thomas.”
So, what is doubt? Is it a sin? Often my doubt has driven me to a consuming worry which always led to fear and anxiety. It would affect my thoughts and behavior and ultimately tarnish my testimony. This is a sin. Thomas’ doubt led him to a search for truth that ultimately led him to the feet of Jesus. In John chapter 20, Jesus appears to the disciples after His resurrection, and the only one absent is Thomas. The Bible does not tell us where he was for a week but after watching his Teacher nailed to a cross and buried in a tomb, I imagine he took all of his pain and all of his questions and went into his room (Matthew 6:6) to seek the comfort and peace of his Father. We are not certain where Thomas was or what he did, but we do know it led him to gather again with fellow believers and ultimately to a personal encounter with Jesus: “my Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
So, is doubt a sin? I thought so, but Thomas shows us that doubt or any other “negative” characteristic can be a vehicle of grace. The very “sin” I sought forgiveness for, I now view as a blessing because it drives me to my knees and ultimately to an encounter with my Lord and my God.
The world sees “Doubting Thomas,” but I believe God sees His “good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).