Believing is NOT Seeing!
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his 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!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed;blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
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BlogFam, I know that some of you read my blog post title for today and you thought I got my words twisted. You are correct in recalling the phrase: SEEING IS BELIEVING. That is usually how we read and articulate the phrase but NOT on today. For our reflection on today, I am choosing to turn this phrase around or upside down, if you will, because that is exactly what Jesus did. On today, I invite you to consider the phrase as stated in my title: BELIEVING is NOT SEEING!
It is hard for us to reasonably accept anything without having seen it first. We need to look at IT, examine IT, probe IT, sometimes even pull and pick IT apart BEFORE we agree, accept, confirm or even deny that IT is or IT is not whatever IT claims to be. IT is hard for us to just go along with anything just because somebody said IT is what IT is. I do not care who they are or how much love or respect you have for them, there are many things that we just need to SEE for ourselves.
Besides that, we like to make up our own minds about things. We do not like to be in positions where people are just telling us what to do, how to be, what to believe, where to go, and so on without at least putting our two cents into the decision making process. Even if we were to go along with IT, we like to at least feel like IT was our choice to do so.
Furthermore, it is not so far-fetched to have the desire to want to SEE before you believe. We are actually taught to check things out,inspect, review, give it a once over in advance of expressing any kind of commitment. That is the wise thing to do. It is what we might call being thorough, covering all of our bases, dotting every “I” and crossing every “t.” This is how we operate when we truly take to heart the phrase: Seeing IS believing.
Obviously, this phrase is not a recent phenomenon. Thomas, one of Jesus’disciples, embraced this line of thinking in our text today. For reasons that the text does not disclose,Thomas was not present when Jesus came to visit the disciples. So when the disciples excitedly shared their news that they had ALL seen the Lord, Thomas was totally like most of us would have been: Really? You saw a dead man walking? Really? And shaking his head, he said I will believe IT when I see IT. “Unless I SEE the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will NOT believe.”
Now as much as I have heard teachers and preachers criticize Thomas’ unbelief, the truth of the matter is that MOST of us would have truly been the same way. And if you think you would not have sided with Thomas on THIS issue, what about the other lingering prayer requests that you have NOT yet seen manifested in your life? How is your belief in God when it comes to that husband or wife you do NOT have, the call for the job interview that you have NOT received, the healing that has NOT yet taken place, the deliverance from drugs of your strung out loved one who has NOT yet come home? How is your belief in your personal life situations – especially those testimonies that you have NOT yet been able to share? Is it enough for you to KNOW God, to BELIEVE through the testimonies of others, the reading of scripture, the moves of the Holy Spirit that you have NOT seen for yourself? This is where we find ourselves on today.
A week later, Jesus comes back and Thomas is present this time. He greets them with PEACE and then he wastes no time in helping Thomas to SEE what he needs to see so that HE, too, can believe. Jesus spoke directly to Thomas: “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Friends, Jesus knows exactly where our mindsets are. You might be able to hide your lack of faith from all of us but you can NEVER escape the ONE from whom NOTHING is hidden. Jesus knew that Thomas did not believe the disciples but more than that, He knew that Thomas did not believe in Him. Jesus addresses Thomas’ doubt because until Thomas was able to SEE and TOUCH Jesus for Himself, He did NOT believe. He needed an experience, an encounter with Jesus for Himself because Jesus words pre-crucifixion and the disciples testimony post-resurrection were NOT enough. As soon as Thomas SAW and TOUCHED, he believed and he exclaimed: “My Lord and My God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
BlogFam, BELIEVING is NOT SEEING! This is our challenge for today.
When we walk by faith, we MUST trust that God has everything under control and that there is not one detail that the Omniscient One will neglect when it comes to His plans for our lives.
When we walk by faith, as Evangelist Rita Twiggs puts it, we must trust God when we cannot trace God.
When we walk by faith, we will not always be privileged to the entire unfolding of God’s plan in advance.
I know that this might make us uncomfortable and I know that we would prefer to have God to clear everything with us beforehand but that is not how faith works. We must trust that EVERYTHING is working together for our good and in God’s time.
When we walk by faith, we BELIEVE God. Period.
When we walk by faith, we may NOT SEE anything but our one next right step ahead and that is it.
When we walk by faith, we must rejoice over the testimonies of others who have already had the privilege of seeing God move on their behalf and be encouraged by their testimony. Because Thomas was so caught up in what he needed, he missed an opportunity to rejoice with his friends and to be encouraged by the testimony of his friends who had already seen Jesus. Instead, he deemed their testimony not good enough and he chose rather to rest in his own doubt than to BELIEVE that the same could happen for Him, too.
My friends, when we walk by faith, believing is NOT seeing. And because our Lord is so gracious, He just might confront our unbelief by giving us a sign to assure us of His presence but on today, I pray that you would be amongst those of us who are supernaturally blessed, those of us who BELIEVE and DO NOT SEE. For the Lord says:
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
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I WRITE by Faith and NOT by Sight...