“Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”1 Jesus, to Thomas.
During my teenage years, many of my friends found a deeply satisfying faith in Jesus Christ. Personally, I believed God existed, and mentally assented to Christian teaching, but whatever rest my friends had found in Christ, I had not. How deeply I longed for the inner peace and joy that emanated from their soul! So, I kept coming back. To Bible studies, I kept coming back. To church, I kept coming back. To seeking God through prayer, I kept coming back. It would be ten long years before I trusted in Jesus’ love and forgiveness, and in retrospect, it became clear it was Jesus drawing me all along from unbelief to belief. “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself,”1 He had promised, and I found His promise to be true.
It had been eight days since Thomas rejected his friends’ testimony of Jesus’ resurrection; “Unless I see … I will not believe,”2 he had vowed. Yet when Jesus appeared to them a second time, Thomas was with them; though unbelieving, he had kept coming back. Perhaps he deeply longed for the inner peace and joy emanating from his reborn friends, but whatever the means, it was Jesus faithfully drawing Thomas to Himself. “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands,” He told his unbelieving disciple, “reach here your hand and put it into My side.”3
Whether ten years, eight days or a lifetime, the vital journey from unbelief to belief in Jesus is the same immeasurable distance, for it is the path from our ways to God’s way, from false notions and deceptions to Him who is true, and from eternal separation from God to eternal life in Him. Then belief is not a one-time event, but rather the essence of life in Christ: “Do not be unbelieving, but believing,”4 Jesus continued. “My Lord and my God!”5 answered Thomas. He was and remains a changed man—unbelief no longer defines him, nor does our sin define us when we, like Thomas, believe.
My Lord and my God, draw us to yourself. Call us always from unbelief to belief, for you are who you say you are: the way, the truth and the life. Grace us to rest in you. Amen.
1 John 12: 32
2 John 20:25 NASB
3, 4 John 20:27 NASB
5 John 20:28 NASB