But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe." - John 20:24-25
As the season on Easter begins, we always will hear the story of Thomas, who unlike his friends had not been present for Jesus’ first post-resurrection appearance. We call him “Doubting Thomas,” but I prefer to call him “Faithful Thomas,” because he really, really wanted to know for himself who this Jesus was. That kind of desire is what is at the root of deep faith. And Thomas was not about to take the easy route and go along with what the others said. He knew he could not yet claim his own faith with confidence.
There would be no such thing as faith without doubt. Faith would mean very little if there were no struggle in finally leaning back into trusting God. Our doubts are what get us to work on our relationship with God and our tradition. They make us ask good questions and then seek out what is true deep inside. Until we feel confident in trusting God no matter what, our faith is only useful during good weather. When the storms of life arise, a faith that has not yet wrestled with doubts is not much good.
So I hope every one of us will wrestle actively and intentionally with our doubts. What are the words we say on Sunday that you’ve never quite understood? What are the things we say that make you feel uncomfortable? What about the Christian tradition or its history gives you pause? Which Bible passages are distasteful to you?
Listening more deeply to these “strangers” may have just as much to teach us as listening to other people who seem different or strange to us. And I bet you, like me, know that in the end, it is often through those things that have been most uncomfortable for us that we learn most - or are even transformed.
Why not make the Easter season a time to try wrestling anew with some of your doubts in faith? Ask some questions, do some reading, sit and ponder in prayer. Are you ready to address your doubts, as Thomas was? If os, you can be assured in the season of Easter that even if some of your assumptions or understandings die, there’s a whole new life waiting to be born right behind them.