Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
The struggle to face a new reality can be tremendous. Some downright reject it, or react to a new situation by falling into coping mechanisms. These give them a form of comfort – like relaxation practices or physical activities. Although some of them can be also destructive, like unhealthy self-soothing that includes eating too much. Others will only be willing to believe a new reality when they get really close. Either through analysis or by personally seeing or even touching it. They need to see things for themselves before they believe. A well-known example for that is of course the disciple Thomas.
In John 20, we read how Jesus presented himself to the disciples for the first time after His resurrection. All except Thomas were in the room and so he struggled to ‘just believe’ what the other disciples told him. – Whilehe had no reason to doubt their words, he still refused to believe. He stated that, unless he would see the nail marks in Jesus’ hand and would put his finger there, and his hand into Jesus side, where a Roman spear had entered Jesus’ chest in order to ensure He’s really dead, he, Thomas, wouldn’t believe that Jesus had really risen from the dead. – Thomas had to wait a full week until Jesus appeared again. Then, however, Jesus invited Thomas to put his fingers and hand where he wanted. Finally, Thomas could believe and exclaimed ‘My Lord and my God!’. Jesus’ reply, however, is profound: ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’
Reading this story in our days we may look at this and think: Well, at least Thomas had the possibility to see Jesus. For us there is no way to see Jesus, let alone put our finger into his nail marks. But then, is that really true? Yes, we might not be able to engage with Jesus in the same physical sense as Thomas did. However, when we get disorientated, confused, and desperate in our lives, we – as believers – can still reach out our hands to Him – in prayer! And as many believers can testify, it’s often in times when we are most lost and become REALLY desperate that Jesus meets us in the most amazing ways.
And while these ways may not be a face-to-face encounter with Christ, we can meet Jesus through His word, through an answered prayer, through a friend or even a complete stranger. And we will be walking away from these encounters fully convinced that we have just met the Lord. – We may not have seen Him with our physical eyes, but we will have still experienced Him ‘first hand’ – so to speak.
So, keep raising up your hands in prayer and trust to meet the Lord in His time and His way.
Grace and peace,