“So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”” John 11:16
Thomas is the disciple who will later refuse to believe in the resurrection until he can place his hands in the scars on Jesus’ hands. And his lack of faith is evident here when the only outcome he can see coming from Jesus’ trip to Bethany is certain death. But Jesus does not cast him off for his lack of faith. Though we have doubts we are not abandoned by Jesus. We are invited to journey with Him so that we might believe. Doubts are natural. Anyone who claims never to wrestle with doubt is lying to you. Doubts shouldn’t stop us following Jesus. Even when we cannot see the destination at the end of the road we need to trust that He knows what He is doing and He knows where He is leading us, and why He is taking us that route. As Bonhoeffer states “There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveller.”
Martha “Where were you?” a question that echoes through the ages
““Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”” John 11:17-22
Jesus comes near and Martha rushes out to meet him. Look what she says to Him. Listen to the tone of accusation. If you had been here, my brother would not have died. What Martha is really saying is a question echoes through the ages. In her grief, in the pain of her loss she is crying out to God, asking where were You? There is a sting of accusation in her words. Listen to what she is saying. She is accusing Jesus of not caring about her brother. It is a question that raises its head every time there is a tragic event. During the day to day routines people aren’t too worried about God. But when the planes hit the world wants to know where was God. Waiting for the doctor to get the test results back is when people turn to prayer. When the news isn’t good and the nurses advise you this could be their last night relatives cry out to God, asking where are you? When the miracle doesn’t come people get angry with God. In the heartbreak, that is when people look for God. Don’t wait to the moment when it all hits the fan to seek out God. Seek Him now. God is present in the moments of tragedy. But He is also present in the good times. We cannot demand to know where he was in the hard times if we ignore Him in the good. But we can take hope that He is with us in all the storms of life. Psalm 58 tells us that God collects all our tears in a bottle. He is with us in the midst of the waves, even if we don’t see it at the time. He cares. Even though He doesn’t move to our timings, He cares for us. He loves us. He wants what is best for us.
Thomas doubted. Mary accused. But Jesus cares for and loves the doubters and the accusers. It is ok to have doubts. It is ok to have questions. Bring them to Jesus and wrestle with them no more.