I Doubt It

(Part Seven in the Disciples Series. Click the Disciples link on the sidebar to begin at the introduction called Different Strokes.)

He kicked at the dead tree again and welcomed the stinging pain that shot through his foot. Pain. He deserved more than that.

Images flashed through his brain, out-of-control images that refused to be silenced. Images of the Beloved Master stripped and bloody, hanging on that cross in a grotesque parody of the many times he had opened his arms to welcome a sinner. He had once welcomed Thomas that way.

Acid hit his stomach at the memory and he kicked the tree again. His stomach growled, reminding him that he had not eaten since that night. How could he? His life was over. He had once been willing to die for the Teacher. Then when the opportunity came, he ran. They all did.

The difference was, the others had come back. He knew because he had watched them from a distance. They were all together now, in that upper room. He could see the candle flickering in the window. They were as scared as he was, but they found comfort in each other. In their persistent belief.

Heat flushed his body and he broke into a sweat. Why did they insist on believing in the Rabbi? He was dead. Dead! Thomas had seen it with his own eyes. He had held on until the last moment, desperately hoping Jesus would do another miracle, leap off that cross and slay his murderers. Why hadn't he done something?

He kicked the tree again, remembering how hard it had been to accept that the Rabbi really was who he said he was. But once he did, he'd been all in. He'd bought it all. Everything. The Son of God stuff, the kingdom, the miracles....He'd been a fool. They all were. What were they supposed to do now? Their leader was dead. It was over.

This last stunt made it worst. "He's alive, Thomas!" Mary's eyes had been shining when the words bubbled from her lips.
Thomas squeezed his eyes shut at the memory. "I've seen him! We all have. Where were you?"

Where was he? He couldn't tell her where he'd been. Actually, he wasn't sure. He hadn't been sober very many hours during the past 4 days. He had to get it together, but he'd never felt so lost. He had looked at her with pity. She was deluded. They all were. At least Thomas was trying to face reality. Face the truth that they had all been had by the Weaver of a beautiful dream.

He glanced back at the window. The thin flame faltered in the evening breeze. Maybe he'd go back one more time. Tell them goodbye. Try to help them see what he had come to see during his drunken musings. The kindest thing he could do would be to help them accept the harsh truth. There was no Messiah. Jesus had just been a...well, an...

He shrugged and started toward the house.

He could take their criticism, their accusations. He'd do this for them, for Jesus. Maybe the Teacher hadn't been the real Son of God, but he was a great guy. The past three years had taught them all so much. Maybe it hadn't all been wasted.

He squinted up at the window and tears blurred the candle flame. It had been a beautiful dream, snuffed out like that flame would soon be. He had thought to vanish without a backward glance, but he owed them a goodbye. He could do that for them. For old times' sake. He'd go see them one more time.

Have you gone through something like Thomas experienced?
Something that rocked your world
and made you doubt everything you thought you believed?

Thomas was forever grateful that he went back "one more time." It was that time that Jesus appeared to his friends again, seeking Thomas in particular. It was that visit that cemented the faith of Doubting Thomas. He touched the holes in the hands, the spear wound in the side, and cried out, "My Lord and my God!"

He never doubted again.

Jesus understands our doubts and the fact that we don't even get to see the nail prints, as Thomas did. He said at that time, "Blessed are those who don't see and still believe."

What if Thomas had refused to go back one last time? What if he had chosen to let the doubts win? His life and all of history would have suffered.

What if you let doubts win?

Go back.
One more time.
You'll be glad you did.

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