I Will Not Believe…
By Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 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.” – John 20:24-25 (NIV)
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” – Mark 9:21-24 (NIV)
One of my favorite post-resurrection stories is this one- doubting Thomas. I think it is a favorite for a number of reasons: the happenstance that he wasn’t there when Jesus appeared, the reality of his response, the understanding of Jesus, and the final proclamation of faith. Jesus gives him what he needs to believe!
Add to that the story of Jesus’ healing of the boy possessed by a demon in Mark and it really makes me think. Remember after the disciples had been unable to cast out the demon, that man asked Jesus to act and Jesus confronted the father’s lack of faith. And the father’s honest response… “Help thou my unbelief (The King James is so much prettier here!). The interesting piece in this is that at the end of the story, when the disciples ask why they had failed, Jesus said this type comes out only by prayer. And the only thing that could be counted as a prayer, came from the boy’s father… ”if you can do anything take pity on us” and ”help thou my unbelief!”
The question is, which prayer did Jesus answer; to heal the boy or to help the father’s unbelief?
Well, Jesus answered both, of course. But all of this leads me to the question of what things are there that Jesus wants you to believe that you just simply won’t believe? Maybe it is that Jesus has created and gifted you to do something special. Maybe it is that the situation you are facing is surmountable. Maybe it is that you don’t believe you can ever be happy again because of some great sadness in your life. Or maybe it is simply that Jesus loves YOU.
But Jesus can heal. Jesus can empower. Jesus can give hope and happiness. And Jesus can help you to believe again. When you ask, Jesus will give you what you need to believe…believe in Him, believe in yourself and not just believe, but to know that you are loved.
Prayer: Lord, we believe! We believe you love us. We believe you can use us to transform this world. We believe we can find joy again. We believe. Help us in our unbelief! Amen.
Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran