John 20:19-20, 24-29 - On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. ... Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, 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 in His hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into His side, I will never believe." Eight days later, His disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side. Do not disbelieve, but believe." Thomas answered Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
One of the things that annoys me the most about God is how leisurely He is. When I'm in crisis, I want Him to drop everything and deal with me now. I'm scared, I'm hurting—I want help now, Lord! Not a week or a month or a year from now!
And yet, I can't say that God hasn't warned me about the way He is. Take a look at the story of Thomas. On the day of Jesus' resurrection, he misses his chance to see Him. Thomas gets back from wherever he went, and the first thing everybody tells him is "Jesus is alive! We saw Him, it's really true!"
Now Thomas is in crisis. Everybody around him is excited and happy, and Thomas just can't make himself believe what they're saying. He's still in a Good Friday mood. And he loses his temper. "Not unless I stick my finger in the nail-holes," he says. He's probably afraid as well. Have all his friends lost their minds?
It would be so easy for Jesus to just pop back for a moment and reassure Thomas. But no. He leaves Thomas dangling in the wind of doubt for eight days. It must have felt like a lifetime.
Why do this? Why leave me worrying for months or years about a work or family problem? Why leave people I love in pain, in grief, in fear?
As usual, Jesus doesn't explain Himself. But He does eventually come back—and Thomas is rescued from his plight. Jesus comes to us as well—not on our schedule, but on God's. He will not leave us forever. And during the waiting, He will give us the Holy Spirit's help. That time of suffering is not wasted, though we may not see the value of it till much later.
So what do we do now, while we suffer? We complain, cry out, pray, beg for mercy—okay, that's normal and completely to be expected. But we also trust in the Lord who saved us—because Jesus' love and faithfulness is engraved on His very body. His hands and feet carry the marks of His love for us forever.
THE PRAYER: Lord, help me to bear it when it feels like You're far away or not listening. In Your Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. When have you felt like God was absent?
2. What do you do at times like these?
3. How do you hang on to your faith in Jesus during hard times?
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