Thursday, May 29, 2008

Loving St Thomas the Doubter

There are truths/revelations the Bible tells us to believe and we Believe them because it says so. There are truths/revelations the Bible tells us and theologians/ministers/priests/older folks have different interpretations of what the Bible is saying so we choose which of those interpretations we will believe. There are truth/revelations in the Bible that we believe because we have had clear revelations in our life that that particular truth is in fact very true and active in our lives. The last of these is the one we tend to trust in. They have become a rhema (personal truth) from the logos (totality of revealed truth) and we are convinced because we have seen this revelation in our lives. I kinda wish I would grow more in personal knowledge of these Biblical revelation. But I definitely feel that many Christians have been given so much personal light on certain passages that we should remember to walk in joy of that light we have received.

Yesterday, I flicked on the television on a channel I never watch. At the exact moment, one of my favorite songs was about to be sung by the singer. I leaped for joy. Yeah, it's a small thing but to me it's a deep true. One of the deepest ongoing revelations I have ever received in my life is this: my times are in God's hands.

I am totally convinced that God is a great choreographer. I wish I could tell you the many, many, many times God has shown me that he leads me -- even when I don't know that he's leading me.

He has also shown me that he has a bit of a sweet side. I mean "sweet." He is altogether lovely....the little sweet things he does for me. After all, I didn't have to really see the song. But he led me to it in one of his typical "Godwinks." He simply wanted to show me he was with me yesterday.

I've had other revelations of his goodness. By this I mean that I have had other instances in my life that illuminate and press permanently into my soul some truth about God. I know, for instance, that the negative words we speak can affect our lives. I know that angels exist and that they protect me. Heck, I know they are the sweetest and most loving and the flakiest of beings. And I know that God truly truly truly leads people when they don't even know it...and that he often leads those who don't yet know Jesus as Lord. (Those are the folks he's leading toward salvation.) I won't talk about all the specifics of these instances but I thank God for these moments.

I think all Christians have these experiences and a good personal revelation of a Biblical truth can last a whole lifetime. Many Christian old folks talk about some of the experiences that made them know something about God's love, grace, kindness, healing power, etc.

We therefore end up with various stages of unbelief. Theological truth we accept wholeheartedly but we don't quite believe. Theological truth we believe because like Thomas we have seen it and felt it with our very own eyes. So many people are tough on Thomas. They say, "what a fool! He would only believe Jesus had risen if he saw him in flesh and blood!" But I always felt that he was no worse than the other disciples. They also didn't believe until they saw. Heck, they didn't believe what Mary told them until they saw Jesus. Thomas' nickname was "the Twin" and we really don't know why they called him that. I've seen some flaky stuff like: "Thomas looked like Jesus and that's why they called him the twin." I kinda doubt that. But Thomas does seem to have been a guy who was capable of great faith and great unbelief at the same time. He was the only one recorded in the gospel who said, "let's go to Jerusalem so we can die with Jesus." So, he was always saying something that showed him to be a man who was more full of faith than most and yet.....

Upshot? I'd like to see more instances in my life where I can "see the kingdom of God" as it's happenign in my life. I'd like to receive more personal touches that make me understand some theological truth in a personal "wow, it's really true!" kinda way. But I'd also want to believe -- deeply believe-- God's word. Even if I don't see or feel anything in the physical world to confirm it.
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