There are some notables in the Bible who are rightfully castigated, Judas perhaps at the top of the heap. But his actions had to occur in order for God’s ultimate plan for salvation to unfold. There are those who scurried on across to the other side of the road to avoid contact with the Jew who had had the snot beaten out of him and was left for dead, naked, on the side of the road which led to Samaria. But their roles were important to the overall conclusion of the story. The truth is, sometimes bad is intertwined, ultimately, with good.
There are some notables in the Bible who aren’t really castigated, but perhaps they’re not looked upon with the same eyes as some of the others. Jonah comes to mind. The lesson to be learned from the story of Jonah is noteworthy, but each time I read it I still find myself thinking, “Jonah, you are such a doofus.” And in my opinion, Job is another. Great story-greater lesson there, but sometimes I just want to scream “Dude, you’re hanging tough, but when is enough, enough already?” Finally, there is Thomas. Not the bagel Thomas, the Apostle Thomas–yeah, one of the twelve. AKA Doubting Thomas. Him. The one idiot who questioned–doubted.
Let’s visit that for a minute. Tommy, if you will excuse my use of familiarity, is noted for his doubting that Jesus had indeed risen. He didn’t doubt that Jesus side had been pierced with a sword, nor that He had had spikes driven through His hands and feet, nor that along the way He had been beaten unmercifully. In fact, he was positive that it had happened–he knew it had. His doubt stemmed from the fact that as a normal, average human being he simply couldn’t fathom how a guy could be deader than dead hanging on a cross, then buried for three days in a cave with an uber-sized rock sealing it, and then be standing in front of him and his buddies. Duh….. he considered it unlikely (actually, highly unlikely) that this could happen. And you know what? Me, and everyone reading this would think the same way. And because of that, our boy Tommy has forever been labeled Doubting Thomas.
I doubt things. You doubt things. Thomas doubted. Is doubt bad? Heck no! Is Thomas (or us) bad for doubting? Heck no! “To consider unlikely” opens the path for one to either search for the truth, or to shut the door on truth and live in abject blindness to it. Few of us will do the later, and Thomas certainly didn’t. He wanted evidence–the holes. And he got it, big time by sticking his fingers in the gooey mess. And what happened? He went on to be probably one of the more under-rated, yet prolific, missionaries of all time. He doubted, he got proof, and he got crazily convicted because of it.
Can you perhaps see a parallel with Paul’s story? As Saul he flat out rejected, to the point that he single-handedly tried to wipe out much of the Christian population. Then along came that little thing about being struck blind. Is that perhaps where the term “made a believer out of him” came from? Because it certainly did, and the rest his history, because we then find Saul-turned-Paul as the early version of a crusader doing tent revivals on a massive scale. Saul doubted so much, that he rejected–he had shut the door to truth and was content living in abject blindness to it, to the point that he killed others for their belief.
Here’s the deal. When we doubt, somewhere along the line we have to option to do. Some do it, some don’t. Thomas did. Paul did. Unfortunately, many don’t. You see, Thomas and Paul, and even Job and Jonah were not dissers. They had their moments of doubt, but they didn’t dis. Most of us don’t either. There’s a very visible line between doubting and dissing, and the line separates admirable from deplorable, in that order. It’s okay to doubt if it is within the framework of searching for the real truth. To doubt without opening the eyes toward that search for truth, it becomes dissing.