What a difficult time we live in. Home foreclosures are at record levels and will probably remain so for some time. Jobs are scarce, and so is money. Families are divided, not only blood relatives but also church families. Any news you get does not promote hope. It's a test not only of our cleverness in re adjusting our lifestyles to get through the storm, but also of our faith.
Faith is such a simple word to say. The use of the word implies that Christians never face the hard times and choices that others do. In fact many today teach a doctrine of 'speaking by faith' which in reality is nothing more than an extension of Norman Vincent Peal's "power of positive thinking". Some point to Christians who are having a hard time and accuse them of not having faith or of being negative rather than positive.
Some of you reading this may have a million other things begging for your attention just as I am. Your minds may be a whirlwind of thoughts wondering how you're going to do this or that. You may be down to your last dollar. You may be out of food and unable to purchase more until your next check comes in. Or, you may be ok financially but spiritually you're out of gas. You may be on too, in the middle, or at the end of your rope. Whatever your situation is, the solution is: faith. Do you think it's easy for me to say that? I can tell you that over the last two or three years I have struggled with faith. I know what faith is and how to use it, but still I've struggled with it as I've watched my health deteriorate, my job disappear, my finances dwindle to less than nothing and my family attacked spiritually. My faith has been shaken to the point of actually losing faith at times.
Many of you know what I'm talking about having either been there before or experiencing it now. For those of you who haven't, I thank God that you haven't; and, it will be hard for you to relate to what I am saying. I'm not talking about being upset that I didn't receive something I prayed for; I'm talking about being in a situation where my faith was, for lack of a better term, busted.
The story of Doubting Thoma, as he has come to be known, is very familiar to most. It's very easy to look at Thomas' story and draw the conclusion that Thomas really messed up.
But I think there is another perspective to this story. After all, he had enough faith back in the 11th chapter of John that he was willing to die with Jesus when Jesus was going into a part of the country where the citizens wanted to stone him. So Thomas indeed had faith at one point. Looking at it that way, we could criticize Thomas for not using his faith. However, I think there's more to the story if we dig a little deeper.
For a moment, let's consider what's happened prior to Thomas adopting a "show me" attitude. All of the disciples had watched as Jesus performed miracle after miracle, including raising the dead. They knew the One they followed had to be the promised Messiah. Who else could perform these things they had seen with their own eyes?
So they walked into Jerusalem with Jesus riding on a donkey and having palm leaves dropped in front of Him as if He were a king. Everyone was praising Jesus. Everyone was worshiping Him.
But a few days later, all that had changed. The people called for Jesus' death. Pilate delivered Jesus into the hands of the Jews. Jesus had been beaten. He'd dragged a cross through the city and up the hill to the place of his execution. The nails. The crown of thorns. The piercing of His side. And, finally, His death.
Their entire world had come crashing down around them in the span of a few days. Even the one who exhibited the greatest faith, Peter, was so crushed and afraid that he denied even knowing Jesus. The disciples were scattered, disillusioned, and terrified that they would meet the same fate as Jesus. Oh, they were willing to die for Him until the moment actually came where they might be required to do so.
So imagine yourself as Thomas, thinking that you were part of something really big that God had planned, and then seemingly everything fell apart. Thomas' dreams were crushed, laying in a tomb with the One he thought was the fulfillment of prophecy. He had lost everything in a span of a few days. Many couldn't even imagine what Thomas felt.
But I think I know the pain of loss Thomas felt, for even though I have never watched my Savior die, I have experienced the loss of nearly everything I owned. I know how it feels to lose. I know how it feels to be flat broke. I know how it feels to lose a loved one. I know how it feels to be betrayed, not to the point of death, but to the point it hurt so bad it felt like death.
Many of you probably understand what I'm talking about. When you look at things from that perspective, Thomas' reaction may make a little more sense. His faith was still in place, but it was shaken to the core. His hope was shattered.
This is what our adversary tries to do with us every day; he tries to shake our faith. Faith is the very essence of our salvation. Before a man can come to God, that man must first believe that there is a God. If you don't believe a God exists, how can you come to Him? Faith is a necessity.
Today I urge you to rekindle the faith you had in our Lord and Savior, for the things He has done for you in the past He will continue to do in the future. Yes, times are hard, but our Father owns the catlle on a thousand hills and He can take care of your needs.
What do you think? I'd like to know!