THE TURBULENCE AND TRANQUILITY OF “THOMAS”


William Andrew Dillard

Ranking high among the pleasures of reading God’s Word is vicariously identifying with its cast of characters. Perhaps it is the unshakable focus and patience of Noah that inspires us or the unwavering faith of Abraham. Isaac brings calmness to the soul, while adventuresome excitement flows from trickster Jacob. Joseph inspires us in all our troubles as does Job, but what could be more of an emotional roller coaster than the life of Moses. On and on the chronicles of life itself in so many contexts speak loudly to us of what is right or wrong, good and bad. Who could have had a greater storybook life than David or Solomon, or the austerity, faithfulness, and fortitude of the impressive prophets. But some largely prefer to identify with the apostles. John was so trusting and loving. Peter was so impulsive and often wrong. Paul was a trail-blazing evangelist and doctrinal instructor. But there is another that claims a lion’s share of connection in many disciples in every generation. It is Thomas who is more often than not referred to as “Doubting Thomas.”
Often pushed into the back recesses of heart and mind, the more open doubts of our “Thomas” are hidden away. Out of view by others, he will command the mental easy chair of meditation or the center stage of a mind unwilling to surrender to nightly rest, calling into question some things deeply embedded as unchangeable truth. Our personal “Thomas” seems to strongly raise questions, affirm denial, and cause one to flounder in the pool of amazement over what is long known to be truth in the absolute.
The biblical Thomas knew the Lord, he received heaven’s baptism at the hands of John the Baptist, and positively responded to the call of Jesus. He loved the Lord and soaked up so much of Jesus’ teachings. The crucifixion threw him for a loop as it did most of the apostles. But not being present at the early appearances of the resurrected Christ, his knowledge consisted of the reports of the others who had seen Him. But no one rises from the dead. Four thousand years of consistent history proved it. But his brethren were not given to false statements. He wanted so much for it to be so, but determined he would not believe it until he had personally seen Him himself. What a time that was when Jesus appeared to them all inside a locked room, and he was bidden both to see and to feel the body of Jesus. A new level of solidification enveloped him as the turbulence gave way to tranquility.
That process of turbulence to tranquility is the prospective joy for every disciple who will stop long enough to meet with Jesus in the room of His Holy Word. When your “Thomas” finds his way to center stage, allow Jesus to speak as He did so long ago: “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” John 20:27.

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